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Property was originally owned by Corfiote philosopher and diplomat Petros Vrailas Armenis and it was known as “Villa Vraila”. In 1888, the Empress of Austria after visiting the place decided that it was the ideal location for her to build her palace on Corfu.The palace was designed by Italian architect Raffaele Caritto and built on a 200,000 m2 area. Elisabeth’s husband, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, had owned some nearby land as well.The German sculptor Ernst Herter was commissioned to create works inspired from Greek mythology. His sculpture Dying Achilles (Ancient Greek: Αχιλλεύς θνήσκων), created in Berlin in 1884 as inscribed in the statue, forms the centrepiece of the Achilleion Gardens.
The architectural design was intended to represent an ancient Phaeacian palace. The building, with the classic Greek statues that surround it, is a monument to platonic romanticism as well as escapism and was named after Achilles: Achilleion.
The Triumph of Achilles by Franz von Matsch; panoramic fresco (main hall, upper level). Achilles drags Hector’s lifeless body at the Gates of Troy.
Paintings and statues of Achilles are abundant, both in the main hall and in the gardens, depicting contrasting heroic and tragic scenes of the Trojan war. The architectural style is Pompeian and has many parallels to that of the Russian imperial residence in Crimea.
Elisabeth wrote that “I want a palace with pillared colonnades and hanging gardens, protected from prying glances — a palace worthy of Achilles, who despised all mortals and did not fear even the gods.”
Sisi only used the Achilleion as a private palace, as a refuge from the world and her past. She only received her daughters Archduchess Marie Valerie and Archduchess Gisela with their husbands there.
Elisabeth’s husband, Emperor Franz Joseph I, did not like sea voyages and never saw the palace.
The Imperial gardens on top of the hill provide a scenic view of the surrounding green hills and valleys, with the Ionian sea in the background.
Elisabeth frequently visited Achilleion until spring 1896. She lost interest in her palace though and even considered selling it. Much of the interior was moved back to Vienna.
In September 1898 Elisabeth was assassinated by Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni in Geneva.
The church of Panagia Vlacherna and the Mouse Island in Corfu: The location of Kanoni with the church of Panagia Vlacherna below and the Mouse Island (Pontikonissi) are the most famous and photographed spots of Corfu.
Kanoni is actually a quarter of Corfu Town, just a couple of km from the city center. It took its name from an old cannon that stands on top of the hill. This hill is lush green and has many luxurious hotels and local residences. Some steps go down the hill from Kanoni and you reach the small church of Panagia Vlacherna. A narrow 300m passageway connects the island with the church. Constructed in the 17th century, this lovely chapel has an impressive wooden-carved iconostasis and beautiful frescoes inside.
The roof has red tiles and above the gate entrance, there is a tall bell tower. Fishing boats depart frequently from the church and go to the legendary Mouse Island, just 5 min boat ride. This lush green island took this name due to its tiny size. According to mythology, this rocky island is the ship of Ulysses that was stoned by god Poseidon. In the center of the Mouse Island, there is the 13th-century church of Pantokrator.
This church celebrates on August 6th with a large religious panigiri for Corfu. On top of the hill in Kanoni, there are two cafeterias with amazing view to the church of Vlacherna, the sea, and the Mouse Island. It is also very frequent that you see an airplane landing and taking off from this spot, as the airport of Corfu is right next to the church. Another longer passageway connects the church of Vlacherna with the opposite location of Perama. Source: www.greeka.com
especially for its oldest part, is one of the most charming and romantic places of all the Greece. Corfu
It is a perfect example of ancient Venetian and Byzantine art that will be able to fascinate you with its little streets and its panoramic points.
Surrounded by the sea, the old town of Kerkyra is closed between the two ancient fortresses.
When you arrive by ferry boat, the humidity of the sea hide Corfu town revealing only at the last moment the old houses.
The old Corfu town, built in the past between the two fortresses, has been developed with high buildings as consequence of the increasing number of the population.
All these houses, one next to the other, have been built of local stones, with wooden attics and handmade tiles.
Fortunately the number of buildings damaged by the Second World War is not so big, and today the charm of the old town of Corfu is preserved and can still remind us the past.
During its history, Corfu island attracted attention of many conquerors for its strategic position into the Mediterranean sea.
Also today it’s possible to recognize their transit from many historical sites and buildings of Corfu town.
More than a single house, you will appreciate them all together, especially during and after the sunset. Corfu
It will be an unforgettable experience to spend hours and hours just walking up and down along thousands of small paved streets, looking around to discover the old town secrets and buying some presents to bring back home.
You’ll visit Kerkyra walking between high old houses, you will buy traditional products in ancient cellars, surrounded by stone staircase, old Venetian walls and hidden gardens.
Every single building, every single street will appear like an open museum, but the joie de vivre of the local people will remember you that the old town is also full of life and full of surprises.
The paved streets and the ancient buildings will bring you to the large beautiful Esplanade and the romantic gallery of Liston; a place that you can’t miss to visit.
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You will start your walking tour at the MON REPOS PALACE, built in 1831, it was originally the private estate of the British Commissioner of the island, Sir Adams, before it was presented as a gift to the Greek King George A’ and became theGreek Royal Palace; you will visit the museum with its unique British Colonial era and Archaeological exhibitions, followed by a short tour of the extensive estate and the local excavations.
You will then embark on the “historic sightseeing walking route”, during which your first stop will be at the Byzantine Church of St. Jason and Sosipatros, the oldest local still standing Byzantine church, dedicated the first two saints to preached Christianity to the locals.
You will proceed to what is now the modern city of Corfu, to visit the original traditional Soap Factory of Patounis, established in 1891, still produces handcrafted soap (without any additives) using the traditional methods from locally produced olive produce, with its traditional tools and equipment intact.
Your walk continues into the historic Old Town of Corfu, passing by its major monuments, the Old Town Hall “San Giacomo” (18th cent), the British Royal Palace (19th cent), the Liston, the Esplanade Square, the Old Venetian Fortress (16thcent).
You will visit the 16th cent Church of Saint Spyridon, a unique example of a Venetian Orthodox Church, dedicated to the local protector saint of the island.
COACH TRANSFERS: from Port to Mon Repos Palace and from Town to the Port
WALKING DISTANCE: approx. 5 kms – easy walking (some on road, some on pavement, some on cobbled streets, some on earth road).