- distance from hotel: 44 km/1 hour
Achillion was built from 1888 to 1891 by the Italian architect Kardilo on behalf of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria. It is situated near the village of Gastouri, where, in former times the mansion of the philosopher Petros Armenis Vrailas stood. The construction was built in the architectural style of Pompeii, although it includes elements of the Ionic, Roman and Aeolic traditions. The castle was called 'Achillion' in honour of Achilles, whom the Empress admired. After her death in 1898, Achillion was not inhabited for nine years, until its purchase by the Emperor of Germany Vilhelm II, in 1907. The Kaiser made several alterations inside and outside the palace. He removed the two statues of Achilles, built a building, which he named the House of the Knights, in order to house his battalion, and he rearranged the gardens. During the World Wars, the palace was used as a hospital and headquarters. After World War II, Achillion became a public estate. Inside the palace, one can admire beautiful paintings by Italian and Austrian painters, the most impressive being the paintings of Aggelos Gialinas, a painter from Corfu. The most remarkable mural is the fresco of the reception chamber showing Achilles dragging the dead body of Hector in front of the Trojan walls. In the chambers, one can admire the personal belongings of Elisabeth and Vilhelm B', furniture, jewels etc. There are also exhibits of statues representing heroes from ancient Greek history and mythology, as well as portraits and pots. The decoration of the Catholic chapel housed in the palace is also of striking beauty. Scattered between the beautifully decorated gardens and the fountains stand the beautiful statues of the Nine Muses and ancient Greek philosophers, as well as, a large statue of Achilles, created in 1909 by the German sculptor Goetz, ordered by Vilhelm B'. The most impressive of all is the statue of 'Achilles dying' created by the German sculptor Earnest Gustav Herter. Another building in Achillion was used to house the carriage drivers, the carriages and the horses.