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Greece

THE BIGGEST SAPPHIRE IN THE WORLD

It is one of the biggest cut sapphires in the world, weighing over 300 carats. It was bought at the end of the19th century by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a passionate jewelry collector. It was passed on to her daughter-in-law, the Grand Duchess Cyril. After the 1917 Revolution, needing money, she sold…

THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented. The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill…

YANNI’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

Yanni is the head of the largest family on the island of Spetses. He is also one of the most renowned butterfly experts in the Balkans. He is a contemporary of mine, and a friend. His family has an interesting history. In the early 19th century, his ancestors were shipowners. But at the time, there…

ANTIKYTHERA

Having woken at one o’clock in the morning, we speed off in a Jeep to Diakofti. The ferry from Athens arrives shortly afterwards. We step on board and meet Fivos’ father, Aris Tsaravopoulos, the archaeologist, and my old friend Adonis, an erudite amateur archaeologist. We settle down in a vast, almost deserted lounge area and…

19th Century Greece

Four generations of kings. Christian IX, King of Denmark, his second son King George I of Greece, King Constantine of Greece, the son of the latter, and the eldest son of Constantine, the future King George II of Greece.   The Duke of Cambridge at Corfu. Since the reign of George I, the Greek royal…

Yildiz, The Tunnel Maker

The architect’s wife was beginning to worry. It was getting late, and her husband still hadn’t returned from the palace. Her husband was one of Sultan Abdul Hamid’s architects. The architect and his wife belonged to an old and venerable Greek community in Constantinople. The Ottoman sultans showed great tolerance and sought the services of…

Patmos: The Sailor, Innocent Victim

As our caïque neared the coast, I was lost in contemplation of the magnificent Patmian countryside before me. The beach was bordered with old tamaris trees, forming a perfect semicircle. Behind, green fields extended to the foot of the rocky hills. A white peasant home stood at the far end of the beach. It once…

Family Portrait, Greece

My grandfather, George I, shared a profound bond with his sister Alexandra, who became Queen of England upon marrying Edward VII. They wrote to each other at least once a week, and Queen Alexandra made frequent visits to Athens. Pictured are the brother and sister during an intimate walk in the gardens of the Royal…


Greece

Greece is my country. I moved there once I finished my studies in Paris. I arrived to find a monarchy in office to which I belonged. I was flattered. With power comes a comfort unimaginable to those without it. Everything is brought to you on a silver platter. Simply make a wish and it will…

Patmos : The Body in the Straw Basket

I didn’t stay long at the Patmian cocktail party. I was bored, but more so I didn’t like the house. It’s a beautiful home, rather old, decorated with great care, filled with precious objects and surrounded by an enchanting garden. Yet, I felt uneasy there. I returned home to find Maria in the kitchen. I told her…