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Crete as we Live it

Chronaki House: A noble house without nobles

Lost in oblivion, the magnificent Chronaki House begs for your attention! 

Cretazine Tips

The house of Rashih Bey Asprakis was characterized 'exchangeable' during the population exchange period after the Lausanne Convention and in this way it was 'passed' to Chronakis and his family, to whom it owes its present name. In 1969 the building was characterized 'protected monument' under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture. In 1983 the Ministry transferred the jurisdiction to the Municipality of Heraklion for twenty years. The Municipality renovated the building and in 1991 the House opened to visitors. However, for the the past years and today, the monument remains closed and inaccessible to visitors. 

Published in  Inside the Walls

Bey Rashih Asprakis was a wealthy Turkish wholesale dealer and creator of the "Chronakis House"- as it is known today. The house was built after the destructive 1856 earthquake and its design was inspired by the architectural standards of Macedonian and Thessalian mansions. In this period, Heraklion was known as "Megalo Kastro" (Great Fortress) and was characterized as the "Turkish city" because most new houses were designed according to the Ottoman Agglomeration Regulatory Law.

The house is a remarkable sample of Balkan architecture and part of the city's modern history. Its painted ceilings, wonderful frescoes, interior hamam and pebbled garden with the ornamented fountain are all hidden behind the walls and artful door of the house, which now rarely opens.

Chronaki house is one more neglected city monument, a historical and architectural treasure that could attract many visitors but instead it is left helpless to fade in time, with the authorities playing the usual 'ping pong game' of who is responsible to preserve and renovate it.   

Citizens against oblivion

As it often happens, sensitized citizens come to fill in the gaps left by the state. Today Chronaki house is mainly promoted through citizen media projects like polites tv (the video is in Greek but you can get a glimpse of the house interior) and a facebook page run by archaeologist Liana Starida. We only hope that people's interest for this fantastic monument will increase until somebody(ies) decides to save our cultural heritage. Until then, you can walk outside the house and practice the 'open sesame' method (you never know)!