That the mere mention of castles conjures at once a feel in much magic and evokes the kind of realisation you know is so fantastical is enough to allure one already with the sheer dimensions of them. Grand and majestic in their prime but reminding still of a certain awareness in heritage and pride even when of yore and occurring thus as attractions of tourist interest, both visually and essentially in the amazingness of architecture as well as in the history they guard, these assertions of always the esteemed- whether in royal nobility or in military magnificence, or otherwise in the more fascinating frills of a fairytale like characterisation, always are bespoke beauties that carry within them the curious charms of a time therefore rather longed for.
Diverging quite some bit from such essences of what castles ‘ideally’ need to be, as those enticing structures wherein one expects to come alive a world of make- believe in such reality none intends to escape even in its supposed teeming with ‘monsters’ along with of course the fairies and goblins and elves and all such creatures quaint and charming and sadly fictional, is the striking still dimensions of a structure not alluding to any aspect of what builds up those castles in the air almost. Nestled in the anyway dreamy promenades of what asserts as the stunningness of a Greek landscapic identity is this curious indeed vision of some stark whites complemented by a striking few runs of reds and blues to sum up thus a structure of peculiar appeal in unmissable aesthetics even when that tends to be more toyish than fairytalesque.
That it asserts as kitschy and eccentric over curious and fascinating is what emerges as its unlikely premise of fame but it perhaps is such dwelling in the eccentric that makes this a tourist phenomenon in its own right. Even today when it is abandoned and neglected and deteriorating but not crumbling still, the vividness of it in conception as well as visage is what helps it hold its ground in remarkability.
That the nature of such remarkableness is not one of the interpretation in notability does not matter, at least as the ‘fame’ of it is concerned. For in its identifying as the Fairytale Castle of Agrilos, this particularly weird of the wacky residings outside of the Greek gorgeousness is a definite attention grabber- even when it might not exactly be the wondrous revelation that one would expect it to be.
Despite its identity being one intending to stir up excitement directly entailed out of the fairytale establishing of its might, and raised upon a foundation not laid down by any erstwhile ruler or in noble undertaking, instead one emerging as a ‘private’ envisioning by a wealthy U.S. born doctor of Greek descent Harry Fournier stirred still even in his evident scientific disposition by a beauty of what occurred as a less tangible fore of the feeling, the castle of alluding isn’t done up by the centuries old charm of what generally reveals as prospects in historical significance. It instead is a draw upon the more essential aspects of the human dwelling, expressed in quotients derived out of the emotional, in nostalgic, yearning fondness of moments and memories and experiences that Fournier sought out in building this fortress to “remind everyone by looking at it the fairytales that our grandmother used to tell us”.
A structure of the 1960s built that which started out as well in much unbelievability, spanning as it does such periods of time that do not occur contemporaries in reality, this castle of the purported fairytales resides in much dubiousness of distinction. But it is even upon such firm establishments of genesis and characterisation that this interesting indeed interpretation of something embedded in the alleys of charm assumes a character confounding maybe but captivating still. Boasting thus of the unexpected ‘grandeur’ in being one of Greece’s most prominently bad specimens in architectural representation is this imaginative initiative by a man dawning also the famed assertion of the Eiffel Tower upon the very premises of a Greek unfurling.
The setting is one of contrast- the small town of Agrilia being a beauty resplendent in drawing upon the setting glory of the sun, and made therefore to house a castle of not the commonplace charm curating its confines. Rather, the establishment is one of such unrealistic dimensions that make the grounds of its arising apparent in a not so imaginative conjuring of the aesthetic sensibilities. It is stunning in a manner not destined to stun but surprise perhaps what with drawing upon influences from its Greek setting as well as upon the facades of western history to sum up all elements essentially commanding of attention. Standout in its assertion but more like in an out of place scenario of characterisation is this castle replete though with many of the references of what would determine still a construction as a castle indeed of the medieval times.
Consider for instance the drawbridge upon the gatehouse manifesting in all certainty its castled character or the conical towers dominating the horizon from quite a distance, not just in the sharpness of their look but also in the brightness of their hued tops and one could not chance missing out on this offbeat entity of what detours away from the usual Greek encountering. Venturing into the courtyard and one would be taken at least a bit aback by the giganticness of what greets them as definite bearers of history.
A depiction of Goddess Athena, another of God Poseidon and another one not godly perhaps in being but not any less awe inspiring in its sheer size for what is the sculpted representation of a sitting horse. Perhaps to make up for its lacking in the supreme rendition of godliness is the attempt to do up the horse’s stature in supposedly making it to house as well a secret library. Quite the stuff of some exaggerated fancies undoubtedly!
Asserting also in as much certainty its intended dwelling in the mystics of what fairies and tales of them muses upon is the inside of the castle made to reside in the allures of the wares displayed along its halls all connected by a series of corridors even as walls extensively and elaborately done up in paintings and murals and frescoes, in both historical and gazeworthy dimensions of exploring also finding wide expression.
The awareness of the historic expands even further once you witness the upper reaches of Fournier’s amusingly magnificent creation as war weapons in their numerous forms all standing up to ideas of the fortification that the structure was made to invoke. And with it all there dwells yet again a play in the aesthetics, this time emerging in a more natural light of the sea and the surroundings revealing through their views vistas in expansive beauty.
The expanse upon which the Fairytale Castle dared to raise its own dreams in magic is one of no less magic though. An idyllic beach setting characterise this presence that stands its ground along the coast of the Ionian Sea, along the outskirts of the fishing hamlet of Agrilis in the Peloponnese- the most popular region of the Greek mainland.
But even in scouting out numerous such elements in believability, the Fairytale Castle comes across mostly as an unusual sight- somewhat strange and oddly obscure even in intertwining many facets of reality that would not otherwise converge all in one. And that perhaps is what seeks to explain the ironic fame of it- as being so ridiculous a proposition in presentation that cannot but come to pique the curiosity of one and all chancing upon its ‘wayward charm’. That it might be looked down upon as an eyesore and come to still capture the fancy of visitors as a deliberate almost ploy in daring to be different and diffident as well in what it was made to evoke- emotions primarily of what universally asserts as appealing abstracts of the human seeking, speaks also in such terms of relatability that might be not realistic but are relevant somehow.
What makes also the Fairytale Castle of Agrilos memorable if not for the out of sync make of its structure would be the vision out of which it emerged to create its own definitions of uniqueness. For a successful surgeon overseas to harbor such integrity that makes him want to honor the fuzzy feels availed only out of such simplistic pleasures in fond recollections of grandma’s stories by doing something so concrete- quite literally, in his country of actual origin, Harry Fournier managed to experience the enriching realisation of something all of us aspire for but only a few can have the privilege of living. Even in such figments of his imagination that asserts as wacky, this man of the sciences ended up perfecting the art of honoring things and awarenesses and experiences that he treasured for the entirety of his life.
For in building up a castle all by himself way later than the ‘stipulated’ timeline of the medieval period, it wasn’t just the legacy of what was that find exaltation; it also had been as much his honoring of the dream that he harboured of reliving once again those carefree days of childhood when all it took was some mere stringing of a few ‘irrational’ ideas in magic to craft out a life so perfect and aspirational and worth nurturing a hope to live for. That even in imbuing the travel tales of so many worldly folks with a certain cheer in the outlandish aspirations of the unacceptable, Harry Fournier’s Fairytale Castle is a landmark in and beyond its peculiarity.