In 1930, Nea Smirni was a small community of about 400 refugees, with a wooden shack on top of the hill that served as its church, in remembrance of the historic Orthodox Cathedral of Agia Fotini in Smyrna. The idea of establishing a club entitled “Society of Nea Smirni” was cultivated among and materialized by a group of bourgeois refugees who resided in Nea Smirni for the “development of friendly relations amongst its members and the creation of resources for beneficial social action and recreation”.
In a few years, the number of refugees permanently residing in Nea Smirni rose from 400 to 1400 and their needs increased accordingly. When, in 1937, the elected visionary President of the Club Panos Haldezos proposed to have the Club renamed to “Estia Neas Smirnis” and its goals and aims thus expanded, his proposition was enthusiastically received.
Hence, since 1938 and pursuant to the Club’s Articles of Association, the goal of Estia Neas Smirnis was the collection, study and salvage of the national, intellectual, historic, folk and linguistic diversity of the Greek Communities of Asia Minor, Pontus, and Thrace. Indeed, in a few years, Estia became a center of great intellectual radiance with multifarious and manifold action.
Day and night schools, informative assemblies and lectures, pecuniary and honorific prizes, a library with historic archives, rare museum collections featuring unique Asia Minor heirlooms and community offer constitute some of the most important chapters in the history of Estia; a history of approximately 90 years that would require countless pages to unfold in detail.
The driving force behind Estia Neas Smirnis is its biggest inspirer and President for 46 consecutive years Panos Haldezos, during the tenure of whom, with the assistance of a group of select Directors and partners, the national, social and intellectual work of Estia significantly expanded, while the House of Estia, its Schools, and the Elderly Care Facility “Oikos Galinis” were established.
In addition to the eminent personalities that served Estia internally, hundreds of personalities from the scientific, artistic, political, religious and business world have at times honored its podium, such as Archbishop and President of Cyprus Makarios, Professors Georgios Ioakimoglou, and Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, Director Karolos Koun, Professor Konstantinos Despotopoulos, writer Ioanna Tsatsou, poet Odysseus Elytis and entrepreneur Prodromos Efmietzoglou, all personalities indicative of Estia’s brilliance and prestige.
Today, 94 years after the disaster suffered by the populations of the western shores of Asia Minor, and 86 years after its establishment, Estia Neas Smirnis stands magnificent, still acting as a beacon of the Anatolian Hellenic culture. Its future is still driven by its initial mission, which is consistently served. Nevertheless, Estia now focuses more on younger generations. Its vision and challenge at the same time is to attract young people who obviously have no personal memories, apart from some relatives’ narrations, which may sound too remote almost fictitious. The vision thus of Estia is to attract young people and bequeath them with the intellectual and historic splendor of Asia Minor Greek culture so that it is never consigned to oblivion.
Summer season hours (1st of June- 30d of September)
Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 07:00 p.m.
Holidays / ESTIA is closed
Easter Sunday & Easter Monday
Holy Spirit Monday