OF CORFU ISLAND
The beautiful Achilleion (Achillion) Palace sits 10 km south of the city of Corfu and 3 km north of the village of Benitses on the edge of Gastouri village.
It was built at 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, that's why she start her travel looking for better health.
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.
Once the palace was finished she lost interest in it somewhat and came less frequently to the 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.
MON REPOS PALACE
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 at the beginning of the peninsula of Kanoni opposite the ruins of Paleopolis, it is a nice building but not as big and magnificent as the Achilleion palace.
After the union with Greece in 1864, Mon Repos was granted to the former royal family and was used as their summer residence.
Today it belongs to the Greek state and is used by the Municipality of Corfu, mainly for authoritative or festive meetings.
Mon Repos has been transformed into a museum and a historic place with a large park full of archaeological treasures which can be visited by all.
It has well laid out gardens surrounded by the old Greek monuments of ancient Corfu and spectacular sea views of all the eastern coast of Corfu island.
Is an ideal place for pleasant walks under the shade of very large and old trees.
One of its most interesting exhibitions in the collection of old Corfu photographs most interesting and informative.
Except for a front plaque at the entrance, there is nothing else in the building to relate it with the birth of Duke of Edinburgh Phillip, who was born in here at 1921.