The imposing building of 2,000 square meters on Chrisostomou Smirnis Square is a jewel not only for the Municipality of Nea Smirni but for the city of Athens as a whole; a jewel that symbolizes the brilliant history of refugees, the completion of which took almost half a century and the contribution of tens of people that were drawn by Panos Haldezos’ vision.
The lot, where the House is erected, was initially destined for the Police. That said, in 1938, further to the proposition of Panos Haldezos, the President of the Community of Nea Smirni, Mr. Thanos Karyllos, decided to concede full ownership to Estia. Just one year afterwards, on April 23 1938, the symbolic foundation of the House by King George II took place. Nevertheless, the works were interrupted for over 10 years on account of World War II, the Occupation and further on the Greek Civil War.
Finally, on June 12, 1955, the actual foundation of the House took place with great splendor and the symbolic placement of a box containing soil from the Panionian Sports Club Stadium and the cemetery of Smyrna. The dream was about to come true.
For the erection of the exquisite neoclassical House, architects and civil engineers, such as Vasilis Raftopoulos and Ioannis Meskouris, along with Emmanuel Lazaridis and Ioannis Pavlidis, worked selflessly. The Ball room was decorated by Marios Aggelopoulos, set designer of the Greek National Theatre. The building of the House also hosts Estia’s Museums, Art Gallery, its collections and Library, with a view to preserve and showcase heirlooms of Minor Asian lands, as well as the administrative services and a cafeteria-canteen for its Members and friends.
The frieze over the House Entrance, curated by prominent painter Takis Parlavantzas, is very impressive; the historic 100 sqm fresco features 11 arrangements depicting the major events and persons that contributed to the creation of the wondrous civilization of Anatolian and Thracian Greeks, from Mythology to the times of refugeeship and the vision of return.
Finally, the House of Nea Smirni was solemnly inaugurated on April 20, 1975. Thanks to the perseverance of Panos Haldezos, the selfless work of dozens of people and the donations of the State, the Municipality of Nea Smirni and many Asia Minor refugees, the vision became reality; The vision to have a magnificent House erected, which according to author Ilias Venezis, of Anatolian descent, “reflects the glow of the memorable Greeks homelands beyond the Aegean”.