The Palace of St. Michael and St. George originally served as the residence of the British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. It was built between 1819 and 1824, to a neoclassical design of Colonel George Whitmore.
The palace was designed in the Greek Revival style of neoclassical architecture, and it was the first building of that style to be constructed on Greek territory. It was designed by the British architect George Whitmore, who was a Colonel and later a Major-General in the Royal Engineers. The building primarily consists of limestone imported from Malta, and Maltese workers were employed in its construction. The sculptural elements of the palace are the work of the Maltese sculptors Vincenzo and Ferdinando Dimech, as well as the Corfiot sculptor Pavlos Prosalentis.
After the union of Corfu with the Kingdom of Greece in 1864, the palace served as a Royal residence until the Second World War. It survived the Italian bombardment of Corfu City during the Corfu Incident in 1923, but suffered greater damage from its use as a temporary housing for the refugees from Epirus during the Greek Civil War (1946–1949). The Greek state was only able to restore the palace interiors in 1954 with the help of a private trust organised by Sir Charles Peake, the then British Ambassador to Greece. Up to 1967, the Greek king occasionally used the palace on state occasions while in residence at his nearby villa, Mon Repos.
Today the palace houses the Museum of Asian art of Corfu. The collection of the museum started in 1927 and consists mostly of donations, the largest being from Gregorios Manos with 10,500 pieces.
The two gateways which flank the palace are the gate of St. Michael and the gate of St. George. The state rooms consist of a grand staircase, a rotunda in the centre leading to two large rooms, the Throne Room and the state dining room. The Palace was renovated for the European Union Summit meeting in 1994.
The palace gardens, complete with old Venetian stone aquariums, exotic trees and flowers, overlook the bay through old Venetian fortifications and turrets. The local sea baths are at the foot of the fortifications surrounding the gardens. A café on the grounds includes its own art gallery, with exhibitions of both local and international artists.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.