A cultural landmark of the old city, the famous House of the Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornessios, is the place which nowadays houses the Cyprus Ethnological Museum.
The old building is one of the most important buildings of the 18th century in Cyprus and after a significant renovation, the house has won the Europa Nostra award in 1988. It is the most significant sample of urban architecture of the Turkish occupation period. Located close to the Archbishop's Palace, the House belongs to Agios Antonios quarter, a place traditionally inhabited by the class of wealthy Greeks. Interestingly enough, the museum’s architectural form resembles a mansion of the medieval period and this can be explained through the fact that in the past, another medieval mansion was built in the same area.
Hadjigeorgakis Kornessios was a dragoman, meaning that he was an interpreter of the Gate, from 1779 until his death in 1809. His position was one of the most critical positions a man from different religion could be assigned by the Turkish Authorities. This enabled Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios to earn lots of money, acquire wealth and strength. The reputation and strength he managed to build around his name was the reason for his death, since the dragoman was slandered, led in Istanbul, and eventually was beheaded in 1809. The House has two floors and was built in 1793.
The House has a Π shape while it includes an inside yard which is encircled by sheltered arcades in its three sides. At the center of the yard there is a monumental fountain and a private Turkish bath (hamam). The ground floor of the building used to house the premises of the service, the kitchen, the stables and the various storage and utility rooms. There is evidence suggesting that the original House was bigger than it is today.
A roofed wooden staircase with a stone base nowadays leads from the courtyard to the entrance hall of the first floor, the so called “iliako”. The “iliakos” area connects with the main rooms of the House, the official reception and the bedrooms. The official reception hall, the “ontas”, is located at the end of the east wing and stands out from all the other rooms because of its rich wood carved, gilded and painted ornamentation, part of which depicts what is most probably a fictional city.
The furnishing of the mansion is not the original. It belongs to the late 19th -early 20th century, and it is a donation of the last owner of the house. The first floor rooms are structured in such a way that they can function as exhibition areas, wherein –together with the help of a variety of visual aids as well as of authentic items of the particular period- visitors can obtain information about the family history of Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios and the renovation process of the mansion. Various objects from the Medieval and the Ottoman and the British periods are also exhibited in the particular area.
Tuesday – Friday: 8.30 -15.30, Saturday: 9.30 - 15.30, Sunday – Monday: closed
Ticket Price: € 1,70
Accessibility: The first floor is not accessible to people with disabilities