In Xanthi, known in Greece as the “Queen of the North”, for its distinguished architecture there is an old watermill, in the heart of the city, by the river, that was the nucleus of community life until it was gradually abandoned over the years.
In 2018, the Municipality and the Diocese of Xanthi (as owner), together with local organisations, approached ELLINIKI ETAIRIA to ask for help in their efforts to bring back to life the group of buildings connected to the ruined watermill in the historic city center.
Subsequently ELLET worked with the Diocese of Xanthi which owns the group of buildings and produced designs for the restoration of the Xanthi Watermill and the 2 traditional auxiliary buildings.
The Watermill will reopen as a visitor center-museum that will combine educational activities with a focus on the re-creation of the mechanism for the watermill. Appropriate alterations will be carried out on the two other traditional buildings in the complex so they can be used to generate income for the maintenance and operation of the complex.
A similar restoration project was carried out on the Watermill in Agios Germanos, Prespes which was carried out with sponsorship from the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and with Angeliki Georgantas and Achilleas Stoios, architects. This project was honored by receiving the Europa Nostra Grand Prix in 2016 in the category of monument conservation category, the most prominent international award in this field. This watermill already brings significant economic benefits to the remote area of Prespes.
ELLET secured sponsorships (A.G. Leventis Foundation) to start the studies for the restoration of the Xanthi Watermill, and after a competition the architect A. Georgantas and her partners were chosen for this work. The Restoration Study began in December 2019 and at the same time, SAK are working with the Local ELLET Committee in Xanthi and the Diocese to format organise activities centered around the complex.
When the Watermill is opens, high quality tourism will be encouraged, the local economy will benefit and educational center will bring residents and visitors into contact with the city’s history and architectural heritage.