Author Topic: Achillion Palace  (Read 53150 times)

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Offline Dimitri

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Achillion Palace
« on: April 22, 2005, 01:38:44 PM »
If anyone is interested I have the following infomation on the Achillion palace on the greek isle of Corfu.

The palace is famous as it was owned by both the Empress sissi of Austria and Willi of germany. Sissi built the palace to escape the tragedies of her life, Willi purchased it after her assassination, but the war of his making, never allowed him to enjoy its fruits as it was conficated after the war.
Sissi first purchased the palace, situated ontop of a hill looking out to sea, when it was known as the "villa vrailla". She then passed the construction of a suitable residence over to Baron von Bukovitz. It was almost a miniture of a royal palace from, vienna. It was built in the Neo-classical style and used other styles such as greek, pompeiian and romanic. She brougfht to the palce many artists who were commisioned to paint beautiful frescoes.

It was at Achillion where the Empress could escape the suffocating atmosphere of the court in Vienna and hated leaving the palace and would often delay her departures.

She visited Achillion twice per year usually in the cooler months of spring and autumn. She spent long hours walking around the area, talking to the local peasants for whom she built a well when the nearby village was hit by drought. A plague was erected in her honour which is still there today.
on her last visit to the palace the large looking mirror in her room oninously cracked and she remarked to her mady in waiting that this would be the last time she would ever visit the palace.
After her assassination by luigi luccheni, the palace was left empty for 9 lonely years, under the possession of elizabeths daughter Maria Valerie.It was left under the care of Ferdinand Bontempo, an officer from the royal yacht Miramare, who had received special instructions from the emperor Franz Joseph to retain the palace.

A buyer for the palace was eventually found in the form of Kaiser William II. He had previously visited Corfu in 1905 and was welcomed to Mon Repos by his sisiters father-in-law George 1. It was his sister sophie who suggested that he buy the palace so they could spend more time together. This was realised after 2 years.

As the new owner, he made several additions, including moving sissi's much beloved statue of Achillion to a different position to be replaced by the new huge Achillion giant, made from iron, which the tip of the spear covered in gold so it would glint out to the fisherman in the sea. This suited his domineering personality.
His taste for glamourous gardens led him to invite many renowned gargeners to the palace to reconstruct the over grown gardens. He filled them with exotic plants and statues. He even moved Elizabeths favourite statue of the poet Heine to the forest below the palace.
His trips to the palace were mainly in the easter in time for the celebrations.
Willi also helped in archaelogical digs near the area.
It was here that the kaiser could relax in private surrounded by his family. His daughter Victoria-Louise even dressed in local dress.

However, the palace met a sad fate in the war. It was taken over by French and Serbian forces which turned the palace into their HQ. They did not hold much respect for the home of the enemy and vandalised the palace. Achillion would never again bask in the glory of its former years.

The kaiser was destined never to see his palace again.

Following Versailles the palace became the property of the greek state. Many of its contents were auctioned and are now scattered around the globe.

The palace almost became a ruin, but was rescued from this state of repair when in 1962, the upper floors were turned into a casino by a german company, with the ground floor becoming a museum.The president of the company baron Ricgoffen was a famus art collector and remained many of Achillion's treasures.

The casino has now been moved to the nearby Hilton hotel and the palace has become a museum.
The palace was even featured in the bond film "For your eyes only".









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Offline Iskenderbey

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Re: Achillion Palace
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2005, 04:38:32 PM »
Hey Dimitri!
Bravo!
Great and informative post!

Regards,

Stavros

Offline Frederika

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Re: Achillion Palace
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2005, 03:44:03 PM »
thats my favourate Bond film il have to watch it to see it again why did the greek royal family never buy it for them selfs?

Offline Dimitri

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Re: Achillion Palace
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2005, 08:30:14 AM »
Because the Greek royal family already had a residence on the island of Corfu, Mon Repos.
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