The Austrian Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) raved about the ancient Greeks. Her special favourite was the hero Achilles. She had a palace, the Achilleion, built on the island of Corfu near Gastouri, approx. 7 km south of the island capital Kerkyra. In the romantic time of the classicism it was usual to feel old architectural styles. Thus the palace was built 1890-1892 in the Pompeiian architectural style and thematizes the Greek mythology.
Sisi had the marble sculpture "Dying Achill", created by Ernst Herter in 1884, erected in the park of the palace.
Until her death in 1898, Sisi visited the Achilleion again and again. Her two children Gisela and Marie-Valerie were there only once, her husband Emperor Franz Joseph never visited it.
The picture on the left shows Sisi on Corfu and is in the Museum of the City of Vienna on Karlsplatz. Note the extremely slim waist. Doesn't that remind you of a starvation model?
Peristyle of the Achilleion with the nine muses
Pictures of the Achilleion area
The dying Achilles, the arrow is in the only vulnerable spot, the heel.
The mural in the staircase depicts the triumphant Achilles. He drags the defeated Hector around Troy.
Sisi Portraits in the Achilleion
Longing for Corfu
I'm longing for Phoebus's hot embers,
After Luna's sweet silver light,
After deep blue sea tides.
For palm trees that the Zephyr weighs.
I long for the cypresses,
Standing high on a gray rock,
Of which, serious and oblivious of the world,
they look dreamingly to Albania.
The waves of the sea ripple snugly
Deep below them in the bay,
And in the distance white and puffy
Many a ship is in a hurry to escape.
O could I walk pondering again
In the fragrant orange grove,
As once upon a time long since vanished
Alone with my dreams!
I also want to see the house again,
It's on columns with a flat roof;
The wild oleanders are blowing
Through the bay window into the chamber.
To the quiet room where I cried
And wrote and dreamed many a night,
Because heaven denied me that,
What I thought of as paradise.
Through the open window stealing quietly
The sea's cool breeze in,
And there, that he may wise the sea path,
Shone faithfully of the lighthouse's glow.
The paradise I dreamed of,
He's been resting in the deep ocean floor for a long time,
The wave that foamed over it,
I bless them this hour.
But the island is lovely paradise
No vain delusion, no empty word;
I am chained with a thousand threads.
I to the dearly beloved place.
Therefore give the dear house back to me,
You old Greek god, O Zeus!
Then my thank-you songs rustle
Once upon a time along the sea to your praise