Strolling around the city’s commercial centre, at the junction of Gregoriou Lambraki (Gregory Lambrakis) and Vasileos Georgiou (King George) Streets, your eye will definitely get caught by a stunning, two-storey mansion as well as a picturesque little café operating in the adjacent courtyard.
A sublime example of neoclassical architecture, this beautiful building demonstrates the elegance of the past against the modern austere architectural style while at the same time its rich aesthetics coexists with its fully geometrical surroundings in a harmonious union. Adding an interesting twist to the city of Piraeus, the mansion impresses with the imposing statues on the roof terrace and the balcony jambs.
Designed by the renowned architect Ernst Ziller, mostly identified with the construction of the once famous “Neighborhood of Mansions” at Alexandra’s Square, on the slopes of Kastella, this neoclassical masterpiece was constructed in the end of the 19th century.
The house originally belonged to the Greek merchant and entrepreneur Spyros Metaxas, creator of the world-famous “Metaxa Brandy”. Apart from its famous owner and his prestigious guests – the Greek prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos being one of them – the mansion’s most eminent resident was undoubtedly the celebrated painter Yiannis Tsarouchis.
Being Metaxas’ wife’s nephew, Tsarouchis spent a considerable part of his childhood (from 1920 to 1925) in his uncle’s residence and, as the painter himself had mentioned, Ziller’s work of art, with its astonishing wall paintings and the refined architectural characteristics, exercised a significant influence on his artistic temperament and many of his early paintings were created in the manor’s courtyard.
Following Spyros Metaxas’ death, the mansion passed to his son, Aggelos. After the latter’s death, it housed various shops as well as private educational institutions. In 2003, the building was bought by a well-known men’s clothing store and, restored and renovated top-to-bottom, remains glamorous to this day, still known as “Metaxas Mansion”.