Wandering around fashionable Kastella, one of the most beautiful quarters in Piraeus, the visitor will probably be taken aback by two peculiar, yet impressive buildings, the architectural design of which resembles a castle!
The Tower House of Pasalimani
Tzivaniotis Residence or, most commonly known to the locals as the “Stone House with the palm tree garden”, constitutes a landmark in Pasalimani (Zea harbor).
The stone-built tower house, located on Trifonos Moutzopoulou coastal road, at the intersection of Kaningos and Siraggiou Streets, stands out for its neo-Gothic architectural style. Built at the end of the 19th century, the house was possibly erected on Zea’s shipsheds’ ancient ruins. A small section of the shipsheds is, after all, preserved in the basement of an apartment building on the corner of Moutzopoulou Coast and Sirangiou Street, right next to the tower house.
The house’s characteristic, well-preserved palm tree garden gives a special touch to a building which, either way, captivates the eye of any visitor strolling on Alexandra’s Square.
At the front of the house, somewhat hidden under the palm trees’ lush leafage, a name and a date are inscribed on a plaque: “I. Tzivaniotis – 1907”. Although the tower house of Pasalimani must be some decades older than that, the date on the inscription most probably indicates the year of the property’s transfer to the Tzivaniotis family.
As bizarre as a castle-like house in a modern city might look, however, we should not forget that this construction type was common place in Piraeus and especially in Pasalimani, serving as a summer resort at the end of the 19th century.
The Tower Houses of Kastella
Two adjacent tower houses, at the intersection of Manzarou and Pausilipou Streets, predominate the eastern side of the hill of Kastella, next to the natural harbor of ancient Munichia (Mikrolimano).
The current appearance of the two buildings is rather contradictory: while the right one stands abandoned, having suffered serious damages through time, the left one is inhabited, fully restored and renovated.
As mentioned before, the castle-like residences, when constructed, served as summer houses to wealthy Athenians who used to spend their vacations in Piraeus.
Street Name Trivia
As for Pausilipou Street, it’s worth mentioning that the word “Pausilipon” (Posillipo in Italian) is the name given to a coastal hilly neighborhood in Napoli, famous for its beautiful mansions. Undoubtedly, the Italian city’s naming is derived from the ancient Greek word “Pausilipon”, which means “what takes sadness away”.