Last updated on May 2nd, 2021 at 09:16 pm
Achilleion Palace in Corfu
It was built in 1890 by Empress Elizabeth of Austria in a property originally owned by the philosopher and diplomat Petros Vrailas Armenis and replaced the former “Villa Vraila”.
Queen Elizabeth became known as the sad queen Sisi.
She was the younger daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, and the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph, was told by his mother to marry her elder sister, but he fell in love with her instead.
Elizabeth felt stifled by the very strict protocol, dominating mother in law, and the regimented life in Vienna, and appears to have suffered minor breakdowns and depression frequently.
She traveled extensively for her health, and this became almost manic following the suicide of her son Rudolf, who shot himself and his mistress in a suicide pact at a hunting lodge called Mayerling.
Coming to Corfu she fell in love with the estate of the diplomat and philosopher Petros Vrailas -Armenis, and he gave it to her.
She then demolished the simple house and built the Achilleion Palace.
She was well known in the vicinity, and much loved as she had a well dug in lower Gastouri which saved the women walking long distances to get good water.
Once the palace was finished however she lost interest in it somewhat and came less frequently to the island.
On a visit to Geneva, she was assassinated by an Italian, who later said that he had gone to Geneva to kill a sovereign, and did not mind which one he killed, as long as he succeeded!
Elizabeth was an exceptionally beautiful woman and a skillful rider.
She was almost certainly anorexic, as she dieted maniacally, and never weighed more than 50 kilos.
She and her husband ruled the Austro-Hungarian empire, but whereas the Hungarians hated the Austrian rulers they loved Elizabeth, who also loved Budapest where she could escape from the rituals of Vienna.
To this day Hungarians talk fondly of her, and they, and also German-speaking visitors, especially enjoy visiting the palace this sad woman created on a Greek island.
The decoration of Achilleion was supervised by Elizabeth herself and reflects her admiration and love for Classical Greece, both interior and exterior are decorated with statues of ancient philosophers, heroes, and mythical ancient gods.
The entrance is decorated with many statues and columns, two centaurs decorate the balcony on the first floor and four brass Mice guard the balcony of the second floor.
Besides, the columns are statues of gods and philosophers.
On the second floor, there is a brass statue of the god Hermes and the central large hall is dominated by works of Italian painters, most notably that of the Austrian Franz Matt depicting the triumph of Achilles.
On the balcony of the first floor, where there were the apartments of the Empress, the Ionic columns are adjoined by busts of philosophers and statues of the nine muses.
In the gardens of the palace are found the famous statues of the dying Achilles, Dionysus with Satyros on his shoulders, an impressive statue of Achilles 11.5 meters high, and a statue of Lord Byron.
After the murder of Elizabeth, the palace was bought by the Kaiser of Germany William II
The Kaiser made additions to the building and built the Kaiser’s bridge, 2 km from Benitses, to use it for swimming away from prying eyes, and also mooring his yacht.
It is said that he came here in summer to draw up his war plans secretly.
During the First World War Achilleion palace was used as a military hospital, then fell into decay, but during the 1970s and 1980s, it housed the casino of Corfu.
Today it is a museum, historical site, and conference center.
The correct name; Achilleion or Achillion?
How it should be written; Achilleion or Achillion?
Well, this building is dedicated to mythical Hero Achilles, therefore it should be written as Achilleion and not Achillion, Achilleion is the correct writing, while Achillion is wrong! see Wikipedia link
Anyway, we use both names on the website because many people still use the wrong name.
Opening hours, ticket prices, information
The Achilleion museum is open daily from 08:00 am to 7 pm, and on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 8 am to 2.30 pm
The ticket prices ranging from 2-10 €
More specifically, for children up to 14 years is 2 €, youngsters up to 18, students and large families are 5 €, and for all adults is about 7 €.
Full ticket with audio guide etc. is 10 €
For additional information call: 2661056245
Contact and phone numbers
For additional information call: 2661056245 Mr. Ioannis Tsampodimos.
Fax : 26610 56284
e-mail : email@example.com
See more Sights in Corfu
Mon Repos Palace is a neoclassical building at the east of Paleopolis, the Corfu ancient city.
Built at 1830 by the British Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam in the beginning of the peninsula of Kanoni opposite the ruins of Paleopolis….… Read More
Another example of the high capacity of Venetians in fortification, and an architectural marvel of art built by the Venetians and with the physical labor of the inhabitants from 1576 until 1645… Read More
This was originally a natural promontory offering in its rocks protection for the residents of the 5th century AD when the ancient city of Corfu was moved here after the destruction of the ancient city by the Visigoths.… Read More
Annunziata, a monument of pan-European significance. At the intersection of Evgeniou Voulgareos and Vrahliotis streets in Corfu, is the Annunziata, a church devoted to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary as well as to Santa Luccia, it was the Catholic Church of Lontsiada as the Corfiots knew it.… Read More
10 km south of the city and three kms north of the village of Benitses on the edge of the village of Gastouri sits the beautiful Achilleion(Achillion) Palace.
It was built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria who became known as the sad queen Sisi.… Read More
If you fancy a journey in your imagination explore the site of the ancient city of Corfu, known as Paleopolis (Old City).
It was discovered after archaeological excavations during the last century. The city was founded in the 8th century BC by Dorian Greeks from Korinth.… Read More
Due to rich historical and cultural heritage, the museums in Corfu are many and offer a wide variety of exhibits from Neolithic times to the present, there are also cultural museums dedicated to the rich intellectual life of the Ionian Islands, a bright example is Corfu Reading Society.… Read More
On an island like Corfu, with huge rainfall and rich and inexhaustible water table, one would expect that the water supply of the city of Corfu with plenty of good quality water would be an easy task, but this is not the case.… Read More
Roman remains are not something many visitors associate with Corfu, but traveling around you can get glimpses which show you that their occupation was definitely not a quick holiday stop! Many conquerors have left their marks on the island.… Read More