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Papadiamantis’ House, Skiathos

The house of Alexandros Papadiamantis is situated at a distance of some 100 meters far from the eastern beach of the town, at a small blind alley, a side street of Papadiamantis’ street. The house has been transformed to a modern museum with souvenirs of the life of this great Greek author. The old original entrance of the house at the west is now closed and access for the public is possible through the eastern entrance, via a wooden staircase. This house was constructed by the author’s father and it is at this house that Papadiamantis lived from 1860 until he left Skiathos; today an inscription reminds that it is in this housed that Papadiamantis grew up and died. The house where the author was born is not preserved today, as its owners had demolished it.

It is a two-storey house, with a ground floor, the “katoi”, and an upper floor, the “anoi ”, as the locals call them. The ground floor is an open space with a well at the middle, whereas the “anoi” has 3 rooms and an oblong corridor which also served as a kitchen.
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At the left side of the entrance it is situated the room with the fireplace, where the family used to spend the cold winter days; it is the room where the author lived his last moments of his life in the winter of 1911. A lot of personal souvenirs and objects that the author used in his everyday life are found in this room.

At the right of the entrance there is a small room which served as the room of the author’s father, where he kept his books and religious vestments. Later on Alexandros Papadiamantis used this room as his bedroom and office. It is a room reminding a monk’s cell with a small window, a dresser built in the wall and a narrow bed.

The bigger and most official room of the house, the drawing room, decorated with a colored rhomb at the ceiling is situated across the entrance.

Today the house, transformed to a museum, attracts many visitors who come here to see where Alexandros Papadiamantis lived during his childhood and return to die.

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Alexandros Papadiamantis

Alexandros Papadiamantis is the most eminent out of numerous authors and intellectuals born on the island of Skiathos. He was born in 1851 and his father was the priest Adamantios (Diamantis) Emmanuel. The author remained at Skaiathos until the second class of the Hellenic School (an intermediate stage between elementary and high school) and then moved to Skopelos, to Piraeus and finally to Athens where he graduated from the Varvakion School. After his graduation he was registered in the Faculty of Letters of the University of Athens, from where he never graduated, mainly because of personal economic problems.

From 1879 he started to publish his writings, both poems and prose, in reviews and newspapers. In 1882, the well known romance Emporoi ton Ethnon (“the Tradesmen of the Nations”) was published in sequels in the weekly newspaper of Vlassis Gabrielides Me Hanessai, which later became the daily newspaper Acropolis. At the same time he undertook translations of various foreign works in order to earn money. In 1884 Acropolis published another romance, the Gyfropoula (“the Gipsy girl); the newspaper offers to him an almost permanent work of reporter, translator and press corrector, which lasts until 1897. In 1902 Papadiamantis returns to Skiathos where he remains for another two years, occupied in writing his masterpiece Fonissa (“the Murderess”). In 1908, again in Athens, the Philological Association “Parnassos”, under the auspices of the princess Maria Bunaparte, organized an honorary event for his 25-years period of writing. Afterwards the author returns back to his home island where he died in 1911. He was buried in his beloved Skiathos and later on, a bust, made by the well known sculptor Thomopoulos was erected on his tomb.

The work of Alexandros Papadiamantis has been influenced from his close environment, both of Skiathos and of Athens. In his writing he represents the life of the simple everyday people of his island and of Athens. It is not without reason that he is considered at the leading ethnography author of Modern Greek Literate, and a discerning student of human psychology. His work, now highly esteemed worldwide, has been certainly influenced by the Russian Literature of the epoch, especially by Dostoyevsky. Nowadays, both his novels and his few romances keep published again and again and are very popular. Some of his works, as Fonissa became successful films and others, as Gyftopoula and Empori ton Ethnon, serials in the Greek television.
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