What is the invisible thread connecting the former royal estates in Tatoi with the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina? A CAPI in Neo Heraklion with the island complex of Petalia in Evia? And a building at the point where cruise ships dock in Piraeus with the Palace of the Duchess of Placentia?
There are only a few of the 24 well-known, but mainly “unknown” to the general public, palaces scattered throughout Greece. Buildings that were built on this or housed the country’s royal families from time to time and others that were designed by famous architects of the time, such as Ernest Ziller and Theophilos Hansen, but remained on paper. Those that exist are proclaimed monuments and recorded on the map of the archaeological cadastre.
The stories of several of these, as well as some that did not materialize, were placed in boxes, trunks and suitcases and transferred to the stable, cowshed and other buildings of Tatoi and are included in the more than 44,000 objects that have been recorded out of a total of 100,000, which date from 1860 to in 1967. They will be presented, on Friday, at the two-day event organized by the Directorate for the Management of the National Archives of the Ministry of Culture by archaeologist Christina Romanou on the occasion of the official recording and documentation of the collections of the former royal building of Tatoi in the National Archives of Monuments.
In the same position where in 1788 stood the Sarai of Ali Pasha, in the Castle of Ioannina, the royal family intended to build their mansion in 1958. The plans of the building were found in Tatoi, in a cardboard box with material that came from the Palace of the Duchess of Placentia (where the then Crown Prince Constantine II lived from 1961 to 1964). The architect of the court, Alexandros Baltatzis, was asked to design the mansion after the demolition of the military hospital, ruined by the bombings of the Second World War, which had been succeeded by a Turkish nursing institution that had in turn been built on the ashes of Ali Pasha’s house . Since 1995, the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina has been housed in the royal mansion. Also found in the cardboard box were plans by the same architect for an unfinished royal mansion in Thessaloniki.
“What if the mansion in It’s Calais became a reality, the neo-Gothic style summer palace in Petaliou, despite the fact that it bore the signature of Ernesto Ziller, remained on paper,” says Christina Romanou to “NEA”. A lover of the sea and sailing, George I, in the early 1870s, wanted to build his summer palace on Megalo Petali, the largest island of the group of ten islands of Petali in the Southeast Euboea, which had been offered as a wedding gift to Olga from Tsar Nicholas II. The difficult access and the arid nature of the island eventually led to the postponement of the plans.
KAPI in Neo Heraklion
The patrons of KAPI at the intersection of Pefko and Filira streets in Neos Heraklion may not know that they frequent the former summer residence of Princess Alice, husband of Andreas, son of Georgios and Olga, mother of Philip’s husband of Elizabeth of England. Originally privately owned, the 1920s villa was home to the women’s Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary in Alice’s time, which held social gatherings and had a small dispensary. When Aliki left Greece in 1967 to move with her son to Buckingham, she donated the mansion to the Greek Red Cross and after many adventures it passed into the hands of the local municipality.
In the plans – even though they bore the signature of Theophilos Hansen – the summer palace of George I in Piraiki remained due to the high risk of the spot that the Municipality of Piraeus had granted it in 1883. The area became a park and a small polygonal hunting pavilion was built next to the waterfront with material from the neighboring Kononeio Teichos! Palataki, today, is located at the point where the cruise ships dock.