History of the Mansion
Pieces of history in high aesthetics places
The building that houses the Argyros Mansion was built in 1888 by well- known local craftsmen, who had taken part in building important neoclassical mansions in the young capital of Greece, Athens, and carried all the expertise and the aesthetics of the time back to their island, Santorini.
It was the main residence of the family of George Argyros, who was working in growing vines, winemaking and wine marketing of the already famous around the world wine of Santorini, the sweet Vinsanto and other varieties. After his death the mansion passed successively to his son Emmanuel and his family and then to his only son George, who undertook the restoration works of the Mansion.
The current owner, Manolis Argyros is the fourth generation of the family, which now has changed the management of the building, continuing the work of his father and opening the doors of the mansion to the public. The devastating earthquake of 1956 left its mark in Argyros Mansion demolishing part of a building.
The Mansion remained uninhabited for 35 years when in 1985 declared “restored” by the Culture Minister Melina Mercouri as a “remarkable example of architecture of its time” and gets its present name “Argyros Mansion”.
The restoration work started in 1987 initially in the ground floor and the yards and then on the first floor, and completed in 1994, where with the right interventions takes its present form and opens to the visitors who want to see and enjoy from firsthand the magic and beauty of Santorini in the 19th century.
Architecture of the Mansion
The Argyros Mansion was built in the preexisting ground space used as warehouses and stables from the Argyros family. Following the traditional island architecture with arches and vaults interior, George Argyros built a canava (wine warehouse) in 1860 to meet the needs of his winemaking work. After 28 years he started building the mansion. Argyros Mansion architecture was based on the architectural plans of Bavarians architectures and reflecting the current aesthetic of the era.
The daily life of 19th century in Argyros Mansion.
In Argyros Mansion history still “breathes” and reveals all the habits, the customs and the everyday life aspects of the 19th century in Santorini for an illustrious family. The construction of the rooms “whispers” it in the best way. Let’s have a look…..
– in the living room with the Austrian furniture and the marvelous Russian buffet along with the piano room with its unique sound echo, that indicates that the children of that age were learning music, art and French at the French School of Fira.
– in the dining room, with diameter of 5 meters, with the attractive Viennese furniture, and the dining table which could accommodate up to 18 people and shows that evening parties (called veggera) with many guests could not be satisfied by anything less comfortable and classy.
– in the office of George Argyros, strategically placed to overlook the fields, but also with its own entrance to welcome guests who visited him to take care of their business.
– finally, placed diametrically opposite, the pair’s bedrooms make clear that the increased obligations of the house’s master, he needed to wake up early in the morning, combined with the custom of the time that wanted the married couples who lived in big houses to have different bedrooms, testify in the most elegant way the charming aspects of another routine.
Restoration of The Mansion
The restoration in Argyros Mansion of the demolished living room by the earthquake of 1956, the cracks and the restoration of the whole building, began in 1987 with the initiative of George Argyros, grandson of the first owner, where he and his wife Angela supervised all operations. The objects have been kept in the rest of the house and in warehouses in Athens.
The most difficult part of the restoration was the wall and the roof of the living room that had collapsed.
The paintings are different from the rest of the mansion’s because they had been re- created based on the evidence that wanted the ceiling picturing four great ancient Greeks, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles and Homer.
After the completion of the work, painting the exterior in its original