Eleftherios Venizelos’ Museum

photo by Wikipedia

The paternal home of Eleftherios Venizelos, which today houses the homonymous Museum, was built around 1878 on a plot of two acres on behalf of Kyriakos Venizelos. It is located in Chalepa, a suburb of Chania which was an area of wealthy citizens, diplomats and consular officers. Initially, the Venizelos family used it as a holiday home but then settled there permanently.

For a period before 1890 the house housed the Italian consulate. Eleftherios Venizelos himself lived in it from 1880 to 1910 and from time to time from 1927 to 1935. In 1927 Venizelos proceeded to renovate the house according to the plans of the architect Stavridis.

In 1941 the house was bombed by the Germans, but repaired by them to be used as the headquarters and residence of the German commander. After the liberation, the house was restored by Sophocles Venizelos (Eleftherios’ brother) and then bequeathed to Nikitas Venizelos (Eleftherios’ grandson), who in 2002 sold it to the Greek state. Latter it was donated to the National Foundation for Research and Studies “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”.

The main core of the Museum’s collections came from the material collected by the Cretans Zacharias Makatounis and his son Antonios, who donated it to the Municipality of Athens for the purpose of founding a Museum.

The exhibition material is presented on the two floors of the building and includes personal belongings of Eleftherios Venizelos, evidence of events that occurred from his birth to his death, documents, photographs and letterheads, as well as his portraits and illustrations in various materials. It also contains the furniture used by Eleftherios Venizelos himself.

The Museum is equipped with audiovisual material, which offers detailed information and includes excerpts from Venizelos’ speeches, as well as a “rizitiko” song recorded by him. In the Museum there is a Library with books related to the life and work of Eleftherios Venizelos.