The gardens of the Achilleion Palace are a spectacle of magnificence, matching the grandeur of the palace itself. An array of sculptures, fountains, and architectural features inspired by Greek mythology embellish the verdant surroundings, creating a picturesque tableau.

Each corner is steeped in mythology, with sculptures such as the Dying Achilles or the statue of Hera, adding an aura of mystique.

Strolling through these gardens, one cannot help but marvel at the intricate detailing of the sculptures, the soothing sound of the fountain waters, and the overall harmonious blend of nature and art. It’s a living tapestry of Greek mythology unrolled amid lush greenery, offering visitors a profound, immersive journey into the past.

Where are the Gardens of the Achilleion

The Gardens of the Achilleion are situated at the Achilleion Palace in Corfu, Greece. Nestled on the outskirts of the village of Gastouri, this awe-inspiring locale is approximately ten kilometres south of the city of Corfu. With its elevated position on the east coast, the palace and its stunning gardens offer sweeping views of the Ionian Sea, adding to the ethereal experience of visitors.

Creator and Inspirations of the Achilleion Gardens

The Achilleion Palace, including its splendid gardens, was commissioned by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sissi. A woman of refined taste and a keen interest in Greek mythology, Sissi was deeply involved in the creation of the Achilleion. The palace and its gardens were envisioned and brought to life by Italian architect Raffaele Caritto.

The spectacular gardens, filled with mythological statues and motifs, were largely inspired by Sissi’s fascination with the tragic hero Achilles, after whom the palace is named. She desired to create a heavenly sanctuary dedicated to the Greek hero, leading to the birth of the Gardens of the Achilleion. Her love for Greek antiquity and mythology are exquisitely mirrored in every nook and corner of these gardens.

Exhibits and Sculptures in the Achilleion Gardens

The Achilleion Gardens house a multitude of breathtaking sculptures and exhibits, each representing a fragment of Greek mythology. Prominent among these is the ‘Dying Achilles’, a bronze statue that captures the tragic hero’s last moments. The sculpture of Greek goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus and queen of the Olympus, is another captivating feature exuding regal elegance.

In addition to these, there’s a fascinating statue titled ‘The Nine Muses’, which represents the nine goddesses of creativity and inspiration in Greek mythology. Also, the centrepiece of the garden’s upper level is a statue of Achilles as the triumphant and invincible warrior, contrasting dramatically with the ‘Dying Achilles’ statue. This statue, known as ‘Achilles Victorious’, depicts the hero in full armour with a raised shield, a symbol of his glory and might.

The artistic creativity and architectural genius behind these sculptures and exhibits transport visitors back in time, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Greek mythology and the allure of its characters. Each piece, masterfully crafted, not only adds to the beauty of the gardens but also narrates a story, making a visit to the Achilleion Gardens a truly immersive experience.

Gardens of the Achilleion in a nutshell

Further Research

For those interested in delving deeper into the history, architecture, and mythology behind the Achilleion Gardens and Palace, a number of resources are available:

  1. The Achilleion Palace’s official website offers a comprehensive overview of the palace and gardens, including the history, architecture, and significant exhibits.
  2. The Corfu Travel Guide provides helpful information about visiting the Achilleion, including what to expect, ticket prices, and opening hours.
  3. ‘The Greek Myths’ by Robert Graves is a comprehensive and accessible guide to Greek mythology that can provide deeper understanding of the stories and characters depicted in the Achilleion Gardens. The book can be found on Amazon.
  4. For a more interactive exploration, virtual tours of the Achilleion Palace and Gardens are available on the website YouGoCulture.
  5. Scholarly articles on JSTOR or Google Scholar can provide a more academic perspective on the Achilleion and its significance in Greek architecture and mythological representation.