Located among the pine trees above the western side of Hydra’s harbor, the three-story Giorgios and Pavlos Koundouriotis Mansion houses heirlooms belonging to the Koundouriotis family and exhibitions about Hydra’s role in the Greek War of Independence and its nautical heritage.
The manor complex consists of three buildings and a garden and is operated by the Greek Ministry of Culture as the Kountouriotis Family Museum and the Post-Byzantine Art and History Museum of Hydra.
George Kountouriotis, brother of Lazaros, was one of Hydra’s great shipowners. During the Greek Revolution he became involved in politics and, in 1824, was elected president of the executive council of Greece, forming his own democratic goverment in Nauplio. Forced to resign in 1826, he later went on to other Senate- and Cabinet-level positions in the Greek government.
In the early to mid-twentieth century, grandson Pavlos Kondouritis, another important naval and political figure, became minister of the navy, captain of the Greek fleet, and president of the Hellenic Republic and viceroy. He inherited the mansion, which the Ministry of Culture ultimately purchased to operate as a museum.
Sadly, the mansion is not open to the public at this time, but visitors can view the exterior.
From the Ministry of Culture and Sport:
The mansion Pavlos Kountourioti is located west of the port of Hydra, on the low hillside, which has a small fortification on its top. It is a listed historic building bought in 1991 by the Ministry of Culture in order to become a museum of the Koundourian family and the Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and history of Hydra. The heirs of the Admiral and President of Democracy P. Kountourioti donated to the state the movable objects of the mansion.
The mansion consists of the main building block, auxiliary buildings, courtyards and a garden surrounded by a tall cave. The official entrance to the walled area is located on the southeast side, at the highest point of the complex and decorated with a marble frame. Another entrance is located on the northwest side of the building complex. The bulk of the building is developed in three levels, adapted to the intense slope of the ground. The first level includes five large storage spaces. The second level is ground floor to the southwest. It includes two reception rooms, one dining room, Admiral’s office, one bedroom and three other bedrooms.
The ceilings are wooden with geometric decoration. Most of the floors are covered with large black and white marble slabs, while the Admiral’s bedroom, the dining room and the neighboring bedroom have clay tiles. At the third level of the main building that includes reception and sleeping areas leads a majestic staircase. The floors of the floor are covered with black and white marble slabs and the ceilings are similar to the second level. The building program of the complex ends with the large, five-level garden. The exit to this is from the kitchen, from which a stone-paved walkway starts.
For the builder and the epoch of the erection of the mansion, Paul Kountouriotis himself provides information in his will: “The house of Hydra was built by my father George before the Great Revolution of 1821. I have made my home a historic monument, especially the Koundourian heirloom “.
The owner and first owner of the mansion, George Kountouriotis (1782-1858), was one of the most important and richer families of Hydra. The property of the family is greatly increased due to commercial activity, in the early 19th century. It is then that Georgios builds his famous mansion.
The end of the Revolution finds the family deprived of its property. They reach the point where they can not maintain the manor house whose floor is almost abandoned.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Pavlos proceeds to extensive repairs of the family mansion with absolute respect for his history and architectural character. The newspapers of this era speak with admiration for his “tower”. In 1935 it is buried on the hillside between the mansion and the sea.
In 1991 it was bought by the Ministry of Culture to become a museum.
Author: Giuli Nestoridou, archaeologist (http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/2/gh251.jsp?obj_id=1260)