The family of the owners of the captain’s house has been an integral part of Oia for centuries. Since the 18th century the captains of the family have been sailing around the Mediterranean bringing back goods and experiences. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of the time was comparable to that of other major Greek commercial centres. An ancestor of the family served as a consul during Turkish rule and later governor of the island and as a result great personalities (kings, politicians and famous artists) of the time have been hosted in the most beautiful and largest mansion of the village.
The last person who was born and died in the house is grandmother Irini, who is the end of the family’s maritime tradition. Her daughter Kalliopi, eloped with the poor but educated teacher from Exo Gonia George and together they left the island.
The family returned to Santorini until the deadly earthquake of 1957 but after that the house was a tragic memory and they decided not to return. For many years the house housed the Naval Museum of Santorini while in 1990 restoration work began and in 1992 the Museum Project was opened by the current owners and descendants.
The Museum Project is housed in a traditional mansion of Santorini. It is a classic captain’s house, which was a traditional house of the wealthy families of the island. They have a special and unique worldwide architecture as they are built exclusively with materials of the island (red and black stone) with a long history and durability through time.
On the ground floor of the house was the kitchen and staff rooms while in the courtyard was the canava (wine storage area). Upstairs, connected to the outside by a marble staircase, was the hall and the bedrooms.
During the Santorini earthquake of 1957 the floor was destroyed. In 1990 the building was restored with the addition of another floor (upper floor) with full respect to the building’s original architectural heritage. The facade was covered with traditional pumice stone and elements were placed to remind of the naval history of the building. Today it is classified by the Greek Ministry of Culture as a modern monument. It is worth mentioning that the olive tree in the courtyard is one of the oldest in the village!