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:
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped theater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and left in ruins by the Heruli in 267 AD.
The audience stands and the orchestra (stage) were restored using Pentelic marble in the 1950s. Since then it has been the main venue of the Athens Festival, which runs from May through October each year, featuring a variety of acclaimed Greek as well as International performances.