Monastiraki is the area where all of us who live in Athens and in the wider region love to visit it for a stroll. I don’t think that there is a man who hasn’t been there again and again just to gaze the stores windows and to walk through its narrow alleys. The antiques, the small and bigger treasures charm our look and take us back in time.
Thus, in Monastiraki and to be more specific at Pandrosos Street there is an old curiosity shop that stands out. Externally you’ll admire it due to the architectural style of the building, designed in the beginning of sixties by the celebrated architect Takis Zenetos. Inside, you’ll admire it due to all precious things that are hidden here and wait for you to discover them.
The “Martinos’ old curiosity shop” is located in Monastiraki since 1858 and in 1926 it was transferred at number 50 in Pandrosos Street where is housed till today.
Here is the paradise for those who love antiques and work of arts.
The mirrors, the embroideries, the silverware, the furnitures, the carpets and the clocks are just a few of the exhibits that you can find in there. As well as rare and artistic pieces which are carefully chosen.
In Pindarou Street at 24, I met Mrs. Helen Martinou. There, is situated the second old curiosity shop. It has been opened since 2001 and is a three- storey building where the exhibition room is operated.
Mrs. Martinou is the last member of the family who works in the Martinos’ old curiosity shop. She confided me that she couldn’t persuade any of her children to take up with the business.
She talked to me about her grandfather Thanasis who started from Stemnitsa and then he set up with his family in Athens. She talked about her father who loved to mend next to his father. The two of them opened the first store. She talked about her love for the old objects and the work of arts, about her colleagues who fled and left an irreplaceable void.
She is gracious, cultured and a good judge of the object. She is noble and you couldn’t but admire her. She guided me to the spaces of the store and she allowed me to take photographs of her although she felt awkward.
Before I went, she gave me the book “Pandrosos 50”. It is published for the 100 years of the old curiosity shop.
From this wonderful book which is full of history and beauty I quote:
“Museums are full of beauty. Their exhibits that are important and big justify the human race- the war and the destruction are not their only care- they help memory go back to moments of glory, they fortify pride, they straighten up the destroyed man, and they cultivate the sense of beauty. Nevertheless they remain distant and a little bit cold.
Old curiosity shop’s exhibits on the contrary may not be as significant as the museum ones’ but they are a pebble of the big memory’s and history’s mosaic. They remain beautiful and tender at the same time. And the most important of all they haven’t been cut of us.
You may touch them, fondle them, feel your flesh crawls and if you desire you can obtain them.”
Thus, If you like antiques and you love work of arts, the next time that you’ll find yourself in Monastiraki visit Martinos…and your eyes will savor the beauty and your soul will fill of Greece!