Sotiros Anargyros was a wealthy Greek merchant and a native of the island of Spetses, who financed such influential projects as the main road that circumnavigates the island, the island’s first reservoir and largest hotel, and the reforestation of much of the island after it was depleted by boat building and fuel.
Anargyros was also fascinated with Egyptology, and in 1903 he began construction of a grand mansion decorated inside and out with Egyptian décor. Finished in 1904, Anargyros named it “Neith” after the Egyptian goddess of war and hunting. It immediately became the most imposing building in Spetses, hosting kings, queens, and other dignitaries of that time. These guests entered past one of the mansion’s most impressive features, the two large sphinxes flanking the entrance.
The two-story neoclassical mansion was the first building on the island made of concrete reinforced with iron, as stone and wood were traditionally used at the time. It is defined by its symmetry, being surrounded by a portico on all four sides, with the front portico colonnades supporting the upstairs terrace. It sits in the center of a large garden surrounded by pebble walkways. In its heyday, the property included three water tanks, an aviary, and a hen coop.
Anargyros died in 1928 and after his death the Neith became the town hall of Spetses. During World War II, the German army conducted interrogations there, and ever since the end of the war the building has remained vacant and has steadily deteriorated. It is now an eerie relic, home to hundreds of pigeons, lizards, and other wildlife.
Know Before You Go
The Sotirios Anargyros Mansion aka the Neith is closed to the public and entry is only possible with the permission of the Anargyrion and Korgialenion College Foundation, which is rarely given and only for reasons of official historical importance. Nevertheless the view from outside the gates is still impressive and worth the trip.