Benizelos Mansion (Archontiko Benizelon) 2018-05-25T11:23:51+00:00
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The house of the Benizelos family, constructed most likely in the first half of the 18th century, is the last surviving konaki in Athens and one of the few examples of such mansions preserved in southern Greece.


Alight at Syntagma or Monastiraki Metro station.

Architectural tour

The house, standing in the center of the property, is a two-story structure, with a stone-built ground floor and mainly timber superstructure with two courts, the north and south. From the interior of the house, immediate access is granted to the north court, through an arched portico on the ground floor and a wooden hayiati on the upper story. The garden of the mansion once lay to the south. This space, overlooked by an enclosed balcony (sachnisi), is reached from the north court via a passage. The side façades of the mansion on the east and west were once unencumbered, as windows were found there that had been blocked by later buildings. The initial property must have generally been much wider. It likely included the area to the south in which a medieval olive press has been found, and the ground floor of the structure appears to have continued further to the east, perhaps as a single-story structure with a roof terrace.
The stone-built ground floor is comprised of three closed rooms and the portico. As was common, the Benizelos family situated the auxiliary functions of the house and installations relating to economic activities on the ground floor. Large storage pithoi (jars) have been found for the storage of grains, oil and wine, as well as a system of wine presses and containers for the mustos (must). In the court of the mansion there is a well, and into the side of staircase a wash basin. These two elements, associated with providing water for household needs, are characteristic of noble houses of the period.
The upper story, is the main living space consisted of two basic elements, the ontas (the room unit for all daily activities) and the hayiati (an open passageway towards the rooms, with sitting rooms – sofas – at its ends and the orta-sofas in its center). The Benizelos mansion had two symmetrically arranged ontas – the winter with a fireplace and the summer. The ontas had a series of relatively small stained glass upper windows. A characteristic of the upper-story rooms is their flexible furnishings and internal arrangement that could be rearranged to meet different needs over the course of the day. The careful woodwork and the examples of decorative woodcarvings found here are common in the konakia of the period.

Adrianou 96, Plaka

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