Welcome to the jewel of Corfu, Achillion Palace. Built by the Empress of Austria, Elisabeth of Bavaria, it is a monumental structure artistically inspired by ancient greek legends.
Elisabeth, also known as Sisi, was a woman obsessed with beauty. She had a very powerful, but tragically vulnerable character since the loss of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria in 1889. In 1890, she built a summer palace in the region of Gastouri, now the municipality of Achilleion, about ten kilometres to the south of the city of Corfu. The palace is inspired by the mythical hero Achilles.
Elisabeth was a fluent Greek speaker and expressed her desire to delve into the Greek culture. Like every other European royal, she had some Byzantine emperors among her distant ancestors. Elisabeth was given the property by Corfiot Petros Vrailas Armenis who was rewarded by Elisabeth with a large diamond-encrusted brooch to be passed down to the wife of the eldest son.
The palace is located in a place of dramatic beauty above the Corfu coasts and the jetty from where the Kaiser would embark on his pleasure cruises.
The Palace is not only renowned for its classical features. Empress Sissi was captivated and awestruck by ancient Greek legends and mythology. Thus, she dedicated the palace to Achilles, who was her favourite hero. The Palace garden, replete with rather artistically sculpted statues of the pantheon of Greek Gods and Goddesses, makes for a truly mythical setting.
After Elisabeth’s death, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II purchased Achilleion in 1907 from her heirs and used it as a summer residence. During Kaiser Wilhelm’s visits a lot of diplomatic activity used to take place in Achilleion and it became a hub of European diplomacy.
Visitors to the palace can marvel at the exquisite mural positioned right at the reception enclosure which rather artistically portrays Achilles carrying the dead body of Hector.
The popularity of the Achillion Palace also comes from the fact that the much hyped James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only” was shot at this magnificent palace and immortalized.