Photos credit: Leonidas Kourgiantakis, Vassilis Paschalis, Benaki Museum
This is the Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor House, one of the most beautiful properties in Greece, built in harmony with a unique natural landscape.
Author Patrick Leigh Fermor and photographer Joan developed a special relationship with Greece. They decided to make a permanent home in Mani, where they lived until the end of their lives. In 1996, they bequeathed the house to the Benaki Museum with a view to complementing and expanding the Museum's cultural work. The house was to remain open to the general public and to serve as a place where researchers and artists could stay and work.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), as Lead Donor on the project, first supported a study on the operations and sustainability of the house, and then, in 2016, covered the cost of comprehensive maintenance and repair work. The primary focus of the work was the preservation of the original design of the building and the surrounding area, designed and constructed in the 1960s by the architect Nikos Hadjimichalis in close collaboration with the Fermors.
Repairs were completed in early 2019, and as of July 2019 the house is open to the public for guided tours and organized visits upon request. In July, the house hosted students from Princeton University, serving officially for the first time as an educational center. Two months later, in September 2019, a group of artists, from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Program of ARTWORKS, visited the House in Kardamyli.
Twenty years after the Fermors’ decision to donate their home to the Benaki Museum, their wish has been fulfilled, with a revival of the house as a writers’ retreat and a space for people of letters and the arts.
The official opening of the House took place on October 19th, 2019, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, and the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis.