The hotel chain ‘XENIA’ was designed and built by EOT (Greek Tourism Organization) in the '50s and the '60s . Due to the fact that the buildings were integrated and harmonized with the natural environment, they were characterised by their exemplary architecture. The EOT (Greek Tourism Organization) sought to build hotel chains and venues that would match the tradition of the area in which they were built and in full harmony with the landscape so as not to be provocative to its place.
The study was conducted by a team of architects. The head of te Technical Department was Aris Konstantinidis (1957-1967). The Xenia hotel chains were designed and signed by famous Greek architects, such as : D. Pikionis I. Triandafyllidis Nikoletopoulou G., F. Vokou, K. Stamatis, K. Krantonellis D. Ziva, and of course Sfaellos A. and Konstantinidis.
Within the XENIA programme, 44 buildings of various types were built: hotels, motels, tourist kiosks, etc., which are located near archaeological sites (eg Olympia), the islands (eg Crete, Andros, Mykonos) along main roads (eg Rethymnon, Nafpaktos), natural spa (eg Ypati) and other tourist destinations of general interest.
Not only did the XENIA chains cater to tourists or passers- by, but also to the local community, as secular places for cultural events, and meeting places for the residents with their guests. In Xenia Rethymnon all the 'elite' of the political and artistic world of the time (Minotis,Paxinou, etc.) were hosted.
* All data about XENIA were collected from the work of the professors of the School of Architecture of the National Metsovio Polytechnic of Athens Alexandra Monemvasitou - Antonakaki and HelenPortaliou, the architect Nikos Tsimas and the architect Mirianthis Musa.
An Advertisement of the era
The abandonment of the building began in the 1970s, during the junta period, when high-rise hotels that were normally 'foreign body' in the environment started to appear. Thus, the XENIA building was neglected and deserted. But along with those, significant artworks by featured artists who had graced and decorated them were lost.
However, these hotels have and are expressing an internationally recognized Greek architecture of their times. Because of its architectural value and the important role they played in the development of Greek tourism, when the Greek state reconstructed after the Second World War and the Civil War, their contribution to the economic development at a national and local level was great. As aptly observed, they "functioned as social condensers for local communities."
The cornerstone of Xenia in Rethymno.
HELLENIC TOURISM ORGANISATION
FOUNDATION OF TOURIST HOTEL IN RETHYMNON
DURING THE MINISTRY OF Mr K / Karamanli
AND THE PRESIDENCY OF GOVERNMENT MINISTER Mr. DIM Makri
Nikolaos M. TSACHAKIS
An extract from the Press of the times for the foundation.
"After his briefing the Minister of the country founded the Tourist Hotel due to be built. All the principalities of our town were present and attended the ceremony of the foundation of the tourist hotel... "
Image from the work of strengthening and repair work undertaken by the Directorate of the Technical Engineering of the University of Crete in Rethymno
The XENIA hotel chain, as the Xenia in Rethymno constitute a cultural heritage of Greece. That's why in this area, the Museum of Education and the University of Crete is housed as a piece of history, for the collective and the social memory for the place. Thus , the future of Xenia passed to education. The building's heritage is by education for the training of the students and all these who visit it.
Like some other XENIA escaped destruction, the Xenia in Rethymnon was maintained and operates as a student residence, and for the education of the future primary and secondary teachers, the students of the county and of the entire island. The ground floor was refurbished with respect to the architectural history of the building and to the teaching needs in terms of exposure , teaching , working and cultural initiation, according to the program of the CENTRE FOR THE STUDY AND RESEARCH OF THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION. The Center are answering the dilemma:
the development or the protection of the environment , brought about its activities within an " applied, sustainable architecture."
Xenia hotel as it is today
The choice of Xenia for educational purposes, as correctly pointed out, "has occurred for another reason, as well... as following the process of planning and implementation, the standards of work upon which the construction of 4000 school buildings was based, as it was undertaken by the Ministry of Education in the interwar period, was case of an architectural product which was the result of collective work."