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Palace museum gets major revamp

Corfu Achilleion

One of the best known tourist attractions on Corfu, the Achilleion or 'Sissy's Palace' is to get a major makeover. The old palace complex, which attracts thousands of Corfu holiday visitors each year, will get cash to restore and protect all four of its main buildings: the Palace itself, now a museum, the Regiment building, the Baron's building and the Porter's building.

Cash will also be given to restore the palace's original main stairway which is considered by experts to be near collapse after years of neglect.

The restoration project was announced by Central Council of Modern Monuments along with cash for measures for maintenance and emergency measures to protect the buildings from humidity, corrosion and structural problems.

The Achilleion was built in 1889-1892 by Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth (Sissy) and purchased by Kaiser William II of Germany after her death.

During and between both world wars the palace was occupied by foreign troops, pillaged of many of its treasure and eventually abandoned. It briefly became a casino before being bought by the state and turned into a museum and the casino scene from the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only (1981), was filmed at the Achilleion.

Several rebuilding and restoration projects have helped restore the palace to its former glory and it has now become one of Corfu's major tourist attractions.

The palace and gardens are full of neoclassical Greek statues. It boasts particularly fine gardens on the hill look overlooking the surrounding landscape and the Ionian sea.

The centrepiece of the gardens is a marble statue of the mortally wounded Achilles wearing a simple cloth and an ancient Greek hoplite helmet.

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