The stunning appearance of this stately palace takes the visitor back in history to when the palace was inhabited by two great figures from European history whose only common bond was their adoration for Corfu, Greece and its culture, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (known as ‘Sissi’) and Kaiser William II of Germany. Empress Elisabeth built the palace to escape the tragedies of her life, and William II purchased it after her untimely death. William II, however, never had a chance to enjoy the palace’s beauty because of a war that broke out, from his own doing. During the First and Second World War the palace was abandoned and inevitably pillaged by the enemy. After years of rebuilding and restoration, the palace was finally restored to its former beauty.
The Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George houses the Corfu Museum of Asian Art, the only one of its kind in Greece, solely dedicated to the art and antiquities of the Far East and India. It was founded in 1928 as the Museum of Sino-Japanese Art, following the donation of Gregorios Manos’ Sino-Japanese collection to the Greek state. Since that time, the Museum has been a pole of attraction for many other donations, resulting in its collection currently comprising approximately 15.000 works of Asian art form private collections and individual item donations. The 1973 Hadjivassiliou donation, in particular, with the addition of 400 works from India, Pakistan, Tibet, Siam and southeast Asia, changed the Museum’s strictly Sino-Japanese profile and led to it being renamed to the Museum of Asian Art. Today it enjoys worldwide recognition, with rare items from its collections being presented in international exhibitions. The most recent one was held in Tokyo, at the “Tokyo Metropolitan Edo – Tokyo Museum” in the summer of 2009.
The Museum of Paleopolis of Corfu is housed in Palace of Mon Repo. The Museum hosts a collection of archaeological exhibits from excavations in the Paleopolis, known as Kanoni in nowadays. On the ground floor of the museum exhibits like rare documents, paintings, furniture and art collections of the 19th century are presented. Visitors may tour at both floors of the building where they will see artifacts from the excavations at Paleopoli and photographs from the excavations.