Piraeus: Hidden urban stories
Piraeus, Greece | architecture, historical, walking
Hidden among the apartment buildings of contemporary Piraeus, lie unexpected stories of the people who transformed this place from a wilderness to an exciting industrial and commercial center. Follow us to 19th-century Piraeus and discover the unforgettable secrets of Greece’s largest port.
Clio Muse is the awarded tour guide app for exhibitions and themed city walks. It curates the best cultural stories according to a specific methodology.
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THE STRIGKOS MANSION
16-hour work day
The industrialist and politician Georgios Strigkos (1878-1956) was born in Kranidi. In 1888 his family moved to Piraeus and his father opened a small general goods store. Georgios loved geography and travelling. He spent all his pocket money on adventure books. When he was 18 years old he won a competition against 32 candidates and was hired at the Bank of Athens. His work day began at 7am and ended at 11pm. His work ethic quickly gained the respect of his superiors, but when he was overlooked for a vice-manager position, in 1902, he submitted his resignation.
Monks and ambassadors
Tsarouchis recorded many details of life at his aunt’s house. The living rooms were designed by Ziller and the furniture by his assistant. Tsarouchis’ aunt received monks from Mount Athos in search of patrons interested in their religious icons, actors, consuls, and ambassadors. The Metaxas family decorated the walls with photographs in gold frames hanging close to the ceiling. The only painting in the house depicted a soldier in a black field. The living rooms, were at times full of roses, and packed with guests for the weddings of the family’s daughters, Theresia and Sophia. The same room, when dressed in black and decorated with almond blossoms, was used for his aunt’s funeral.
THE MUNICIPAL THEATER
The opening took place on April 9th, 1895, before construction was completed. The rush was due to political reasons because the following Sunday was national Election Day and the mayor of Piraeus, who supported Charilaos Trikoupis, wanted to offer his support to the prospective prime minister by opening an impressive public building. The theater companies were not ready to perform. The mayor had organized a theatrical competition to select the first play but the winner was declared more than two months after the end of the first season. The opening of the theater was accompanied by the municipal band that performed popular classical tunes.