Pavlos Nirvanas house
PAVLOS NIRVANAS HOUSE : HISTORY MUSEUM OF SKOPELOS. An important modern monument in Magnissia, the Nirvanas house on Skopelos, is reborn an it is soon to open its doors to the public. The building was repaired and transformed into a historical showroom of the town of Skopelos from antiquity to our days. The responsibility and monitoring of the whole project was undertaken by the Office of Modern Monuments and Technical Works in Thessaly of the Ministry of Civilisation. This house was where Pavlos Nirvanas, the modern Greek novelist, spent his childhood years; his origins were on Skopelos and his real name was Petros Apostolidis.
It is built in the centre of the traditional settlement of Skopelos, in the district of Agios Ioannis, next to the church of the Three Hierarchs, with an amphitheatrical view of the town and the picturesque port of Skopelos. The house is one of the most remarkable samples of local Skopelos Folk Architecture, of “Macedonian Type”, without later deformations and changes, and it was built in the first half of the 19th century. For the above reasons, in 1965 it was characterized as a historical preserved building requiring special state protection by ministerial decision from the Ministry of Civilisation.
It is a two-storey building with a semi-basement, most of it stone-built except the façade and the eastern side of the 1st floor, which are made from tsatmas.
The façade of the 1st floor sticks out intensely from the outline of the base of the building, creating a unique protrusion, which is the most characteristic elements of “Macedonian Type” houses on Skopelos.
The top view of the house has an L shape and it is formed on three levels, the semi-basement, the ground floor and the first floor.
The semi-basement is on various levels and it includes three areas, used as storage areas and cellars for storing the year’s produce.
The ground floor communicates directly with the everyday room, whose formation shows that it was initially used as for some kind of home-based commercial activity. Besides the everyday room, which is on a lower level than the rest, this storey has the other two winter rooms with a fireplace.
The first floor includes three rooms, two of which communicate with internal two-flap doors and were used as reception areas, and the third was a bedroom.
On the south-west side of the plot there is the outbuilding, with the kitchen and the lavatory, while the rest of the plot is enclosed with a high stone-built wall, creating a small enclosed yard.
The Nirvana house was bought on 18.12.1998 by the Municipality of Skopelos. In 2002 the repair of the house was included in the Third Community Support Framework and it was transformed into a history showroom of the town of Skopelos, following a study drawn up by the Office of Modern Monuments and Technical Works in Thessaly of the Ministry of Civilisation.
The repair works, which began in July 2004 and were complete in November 2005, totally respected the traditional character of the building. The building was restored and transformed into a history showroom of the town of Skopelos. All modern amenities were installed for this reason (electrics, water supply, heating systems, alarms, fire safety etc), so that it fulfils the requirements of a modern showroom.
Modern museological proposal
Crossing the threshold of the Nirvana House, you come into contact with a modern museological proposal. With its new function, the house hosts the exhibition “Peparithos – Skopelos: The history of the town from antiquity to our days”. Through an environment organically tied to the traditional settlement of Skopelos, the visitor will travel to its history of many centuries, since the town has been lived in continuously from antiquity to our days.
To collect the varied material of the exhibition, the need arose for an interdisciplinary collaboration of bodies of the Ministry of Civilisation, such as the 13th Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Office of Volos, the 7th Byzantine Antiquities Office of Larissa, General State Archives - Archives of Magnissia, the Modern Monuments and Technical Works in Thessaly Office, which was also in charge of the general care of the oranisation of the exhibition and others. The contribution of various scientists, as well as private individuals, was also valuable.
In this special history museum, the local history of the town and the island of Skopelos is not presented linearly, in a single-dimensional chronological placement of events and history, but theme-wise. The history of each period is faced as a whole, including the sectors of culture, social organisation and economy. All the above are presented with tasteful posters, brightened with rich photographic material, which is presented on all the walls of the house.
A hospitable reception and information area for the public, from where somebody can get the special information leaflet, leads to the main exhibition areas – rooms of the house.
(Text by D. Paliouras)