It could easily be a promotion of the city or a circuit of the mystery manors, of which there are plenty, but it’s not. The poster’s info states ‘the mystery manor is assumed to be in New Orleans’ (it is unknown why somebody would claim that it is there). ‘American Horror Story,’ an American horror series with Jessica Lange as the leading lady, used a building that actually is in Thessaloniki, Greece for its poster promotion. This building used to be the Italian Consulate and now holds a sad story for the city of Thessaloniki.
Mr. Kourakis, Thessaloniki’s deputy mayor who is responsible for the city’s urban planning, has repeatedly requested free conveyance of the building from the Italian State. This seems to be quite reasonable, as it seems that the Italian State does not intend to use the building, nor tend to it and protect it from the ravages of time. For that reason, Mr. Kourakis proposed to include the manor in a Regeneration Programme in order for it to be used by the citizens of Thessaloniki. The Italian State responded positively to that request and it seems the achievement of the goal is only a matter of time.
Unfortunately, great damage of the building is discovered on a daily basis. One day the stair’s marble railing is missing, the next day the rail of a balcony, and the day after part of the central staircase. It seems that the perpetrators are very well trained in the deconstruction of buildings, as they leave no signs of demolition behind.
It’s not the first time that something like this has occurred. It is actually a common occurrence to see buildings being pulled down day by day. It’s an absolute disgrace, especially in this period of time, when more and more people have become sensitive about the conservation of newer monuments, such as this. It is an even bigger shame that this building belongs to a public authority, the Italian State, a country with great sensitivity towards its architectural heritage.
Thankfully, the municipality will eventually close a successful deal with the Italian State, and the listed manor will be saved, contrary to one similar architectural masterpiece a few blocks away, that was demolished in order to construct the headquarters of an Italian Tobacco Industry.
Just before we round off this story, we shall take a quick look at the mystery manor’s history.
- The architect: Ksenofon Peonidis;
- Building’s use: Zeborgas’ home, Evelmans’ Home, Salem’s Home, Italian Consulate until 1978, and today unoccupied;
- Owner: The Italian State;
- History: The manor was designed by one of the most important architects of the city, Ksenofon Peonidis, in 1878, as a home for the rich family of a French trader, named Zeborga. In 1886, Anna Evelman, who was from Switzerland, bought the building. A decade after, the manor was bought by a well-known Jewish lawyer, named Emanouel Rafael Salem. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the building was leased by the Italian State, who finally bought it in 1924. The edifice has three floors and is surrounded by a beautiful garden, which today has regrettably turned into a jungle. In 1978 an earthquake occurred and the building was abandoned, although no serious damage was caused to the infrastructure. The Italian Consulate was transferred to a new building complex and although the old manor was partly repaired in 1984, it has been remained abandoned ever since.
What’s your opinion regarding these kinds of abandoned buildings? Should they be preserved after such deconstruction? It is worth the financial and time investment?
The original article, published in Greek, can be found here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.