Historian Costas Stamatopoulos traces past of royal estate

THESSALONIKI – The Tatoi royal estate comes to life in a two-volume work in which historian Costas Stamatopoulos explores the world of the Greek royal family, illuminating a crucial period in modern Greek history. «The Chronicle of Tatoi,» a deluxe edition just published by Kapon, is the result of painstaking research. The writer has amassed material from 98 years of daily newspaper articles, official documents, reports of political meetings, public and private archives, diaries and personal accounts. He enters the palace to follow the thread of the royal family back five generations, in what former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis calls in the prologue «a feat of history, research and authorship.» A descriptive text, accompanied by an abundance of documents (maps, architectural plans, photographs of the royals with guests, prints, letters, notes and dinner invitations) portrays the Tatoi Estate and the events that took place there, including three disastrous fires, as well as the customs and human aspects with their joys and sorrows. The retrospective begins in 1872, the year that Ernst Tziller suggested to King George I that he buy the estate, up to December 13, 1967, when, a day after recording an announcement to the Greek public, a small procession of royals went through the gates, abandoning Tatoi. The researcher tells the history of the estate (1800-1872) with the installation of the young George I and his wife Olga and their three children. He provides numerous details about the new house (1874-1877), designed in the Greek-Swiss style by the famed German architect of neoclassical Athens, the expansion of the estate, the turn of the century, the assassination of George I and the great fire of 1916. His elaborate descriptions of everyday life during difficult but peaceful years convey the atmosphere that surrounded the royal family, with visits by leading figures (prime ministers and ministers), celebrations and feasts. Among the high-born visitors to Tatoi were the kings and queens of Britain and Italy, and numerous princes, princesses, dukes and duchesses. The second volume starts in July 1915, and covers the period of the Nazi Occupation and the December uprising of 1944. «In the winter of 1945, the residents of Tatoi experienced hunger for the first time because the estate that had nourished them all those years and kept them from feeling the occupation no longer existed. Following the looting and killing, another calamity was to wreck everything – fire. On May 31, 1945, the first deliberately lit fire of the year started. The burnt area was in excess of 2,000 hectares. Tatoi had gone back to point zero.» In the decade 1945-1955, the estate came back to life with King Paul and Queen Frederiki, but eventually drew to a close together with the eclipse of the royal family. The book was launched yesterday at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki by Professor Antonios-Aimilios Tahiaos, journalist Costas Iordanidis, architect Maro Kardamitsi-Adami and the author.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.