And our ride in the island of Kerkyra is continued (from the old stronghold) in Sissi’s princely palace!
Achilleion (as the palace is called) is indisputably one the most well-known and important sights in Kerkyra and it is placed in Gastouri village, 9 kilometres outside of the city of Kerkyra. Achilleion was built in the 19th century by order of the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as Sissi.
It excites thousands of tourists’ interest every year, so I was tempted to visit it!!!!
Sissi visited Kerkyra for the first time in 1861 and she was host to the English High Commissioner, Henry Stoks in Mon Repos. She remained on the island for a long time and she loved it exceptionally, while her acquaintance with Greece made her notably appreciate Greek civilization and study Greek mythology.
When her youngest son died, Sissi the Empress decided to leave Austria for a while and she returned to Kerkyra in 1889. In Gastouri she found villa Vraila and she ordered to have the building destroyed and built a whole new building!
The Italian architect Raffaele Carrito assumes the design of the new building, which Sissi names Achilleion, in honor of the hero Achilles whom she particularly admired.
Inside Achillion visitors have the chance to admire the wonderful murals and the paintings which adorn the reception halls.
While entering, the first thing that magnetizes you is the palace’s ceiling!!! A real work of art!
In the ceiling of the main reception hall there is the painting-fresco which portrays the four seasons of the year. And straight in front of you the staircase which leads you to the upper floors of the palace.
I was terribly excited being in that place, so majestic and in the same time so approachable…… it could be my dream house!
In the lower level there is a chapel made by princess Sissi to pray, which is decorated with works of ecclesiastical art.
There are, also, various rooms, decorated with portraits and many amazing murals and everything gets warmed by magnificent fireplaces!!!!
Now, climbing towards the STAIRCASE….!!!!!! Yes, I believe that every woman dreams of having that staircase in her house…..!!!!
In the end of the staircase, in the beginning of every floor there was a huge mirror on the wall – selfies’ cavern! hahaha!
I wish I had such a staircase in my house, even if I had to climb 10 floors…!
Statues everywhere. Mirrors everywhere. All staircases covered with a shining red carpet and amazing murals…… Hundreds of colours your eye can’t capture, you don’t make it analyzing neither the image, nor the architecture into an orgasm of art and high aesthetics.
I’m sure that the princess, since she was living in an environment like that, she didn’t need anything else to cheer her up and make her feel special….a true princess!!!!
Of course, the palace (like all palaces) didn’t have an end! Many floors and each one of them led into a few dozens of rooms which left me speechless with their interior space.
So, at the end, in the last floor the princess couldn’t help leaving me speechless!!!! Austrian painter Franz Matsch in 1892 REALLY REVELS and creates a huge oil painting which depicts Achilles dragging Hector’s dead body with his chariot. A work which constitutes main attraction in Achilleion and it’s really extremely impressive!!!
When princess Sissi walked out in her courtyard, she had the view which competes Santorini’s sunset!!!
No, I’m not exaggerating at all……
The courtyard was as magnificent as the interior space was.
In front of every pole there are the statues of the nine muses of the Greek Mythology. The statues are made following the sculptural tradition of the Ancient Greeks.
The most well-known statue is Dying Achilles by Herter which presents Achilles writhing and trying to remove the arrow after the shot he took in his heel. The statue was built in 1884.
The tragic irony is the fact that Sissi was murdered in 1898 in Switzerland by an anarchist, who stroke her in the chest with a pointed iron bar, which looked like an arrow…
Except from Dying Achilles, impression is caused by the bronze statue which stands in the garden and goes by the title, “Victorious Achilles”. Its height is about 8 metres and it is extremely majestic and imposing.
Achilleion-Palace of Sissi is built inside a verdant area, with a wonderful garden with many statues of archaic type. Really uniquely designed and well-preserved, with coconut trees, exotic flowers and centuries old trees and a view which every princess would love to enjoy while having her breakfast!
The Achilleion exterior spaces are really uniquely designed and well-preserved with coconut trees, exotic flowers and centuries old trees.
Achilleion after Empress Sissi
1)After Sissi’s murder, in 1898, Achilleion remained closed for years!!!
2)In 1907 it was purchased by Kaiser Wilhelm 2nd, who made unsuccessful efforts and decorative interventions to the palace.
3)Achilleion was used as a hospital during the 1st and 2nd World War and suffered several damages.
4)In 1962 Greece rechartered it to a German company which refurbished it, brought many of Sissi’s artifacts back and created a casino in the area.
5)In 1994 Achilleion passed in the jurisdiction of the Greek Public and ever since it operates as a museum, attracting thousands of tourists every summer.
That’s all for today darlings!!! See you in the next ride….