How the royal estates and the summer palace are being revamped
In Tatoi nothing is the same anymore. In the former royal estates, the marks left by the devastating fire in the summer of 2021 are still visible. The fire, which had reached the historic core of the estate, may have left the palace untouched and burned only two of the containers, with various objects from the buildings of the estate, but it altered the natural environment while causing serious damage to 13 peripheral buildings , with the most important to the Directorate, but also those of the Personnel Housing, the Forestry building, Telecommunications, the Guard of the Tombs and the “Sturm Residence” and the Caretaker’s House.
The image that will be seen by the guests who will attend the funeral of the former King Constantine, on Monday, has nothing to do with the former paradise of Tatoi. Although in recent months crews have been systematically working on the cleanup, black, burnt logs remain as a reminder of the ecological disaster caused by the fire a year and a half ago, although the forest has begun to regenerate.
Regarding the restoration of the summer palace and the kitchens, the contractors of the project, ERETVO, ETVO and Nirikos Techniki, is proceeding. The aim is that by the end of 2025, the premises will be open to visitors and function as a museum, where the furniture and objects of the former royal family will be exhibited, while a museological study will also be carried out for the new agricultural building. At the same time, the gardens of the palace will be restored, the conservation and restoration of the artefacts will progress, as well as their recording, documentation and registration, as well as the digitization of the printed archival material that has been found in the premises. For the time being, the contractor who has settled in the area is proceeding with preliminary works inside the building. The restoration of the palace has secured funding of 14.3 million euros (including VAT) from the Recovery Fund.
Studies on regional buildings
As for the burnt buildings still lying exposed to rain and damp as they have lost their roofs, they need immediate protection before they collapse, like other important regional buildings. For some of these there are ready studies for their restoration. Some time ago, the Central Council of Newer Monuments gave a positive opinion on the studies of the new Cow Shed, the Horse Stables and the Refuge, as well as the accessibility study of the restored Forester’s House, which will host the information and visitor information center about the history of the estate. The operations will be carried out with the aim of highlighting their architectural and historical value, preserving their authentic morphological and typological elements.
For the New Cow Sheds, the approved final study foresees its conversion into an exhibition space. The ground floor will host a museum display area for the objects preserved in the building, with separate sections for the display of dairy, oil and wine production. The same building will host the exhibition of the cars found on the estate (Rolls-Royce of the era, MG TD Midget, electric Fiat 500 Boano Spider Elegance and golf vehicles). The project, with a budget of 4,300,000 euros, has secured funding from the Recovery Fund and a completion date of the end of 2025.
The Horse Stable building will function as a place for children’s creative work and an information center for horses. It is part of the second complex of stables which was erected during the first period of reconstruction of the estate (1873-78) by George I. In its immediate surroundings, the estate’s bell tower is preserved – with the word “Tatoi” and the date “1895” engraved on the bell.
The restoration of the Refuge is underway so that it will host a digital visitor information center. Its basement belongs to the palatial section of the Estate and has two visible entrances. Its construction is placed during the interwar period of reconstruction (1930-1939) at the same time as the underground portico that connects the Summer Palace with the Kitchens. During the December events (1944-45), during the fighting in the wider area of the airport, the residents of the Estate took refuge there.
The restored “Forest Ranger’s House” is now accessible, after the reconstruction of the 850 meter long route from the Lefkas Gate to the building. In the attic of the House there is a digital projection with snapshots from the history of the estate. The Forester House in 1896 is recorded as a stable, supporting the Head Gardener’s House.
New necessary infrastructure
The studies for the modernization of the infrastructure networks – water supply, fire fighting, irrigation, drainage and sewage treatment, electric power and telecommunications have also been completed and approved by Central Council of Newer Monuments based on the requirements created by the new uses that will be accommodated in the estate.
Among other things, a connection with the central water main, a new distribution network for all the buildings and facilities of the Estate, construction of a water supply tank, a fire extinguishing network that will cover the entire core of the Estate, with fire hydrants and water jets in selected locations as well as an installation of a self-contained system with gas in spaces where water cannot be used as an extinguishing medium. There will also be undergrounding of the electricity network, a sewage network and sewage treatment plant, a telecommunications network, etc. The infrastructure projects will be financed by the operational program “Transport Infrastructures, Environment and Sustainable Development 2014-2020”.
However, it is noteworthy that the “Tatoi Estate Management Agency” has not yet been established to direct the utilization of the area, which was already foreseen in 2006 in the Presidential Decree for the protection of the mountainous mass of Parnitha and the utilization of Tatoi.