Monday, 7 April 2008
Villa Koundourou was the house of a rich businessman (Mr Koundourou) who lived in Hania. He had the house built for himself and his family at a time when most people lived in roughly built stone houses in the surrounding villages. There would have been very very few houses in the centre at the time. He was lucky to have had the best pick of location - it is right next to the sea (right-hand side of the photo) behind the old port, which suggests that he might have used it as a summer house. There are a few other houses of this style on the same street (they are known as 'neo-classical' buildings, and are protected against demolition), but none are in the same condition as Villa Koundourou; they are used both as houses and offices. Their value exceeds the the lifetime income of many of the town's residents.
When he died, he left the house to the local council, who have refurbished it. It is now used for art, music and theatre classes, as well as housing occasional exhibitions.
The pick-up truck outside the villa is a symbol of Cretan agriculture. A parent is probably waiting to pick up their child after an art class. This photo was taken on a Saturday morning. The beautiful old port is right behind this villa, about a ten-minute walk.