HISTORY OF THE BUILDING

The traditional hotel “Ghermaniko” is housed in one of the oldest buildings of the area, with intense activity during the whole past century.

The two-storey house was constructed approximately in the year 1910; a period during which Damouchari with its natural harbour, unique in the whole region, served as the supply station of eastern Pilio. Germaniko was completely made of Pelion stone and wood. This is the reason that makes the interior of the building resistant even to the highest levels of the summer heat. Initially, it was operating as a grocery store and a residence. During the greek civil war (1946-1949) its last owner and inheritor called Gewrgios Vontzos was forced to leave it permanently; one night he took his family with his little boat and moved to Skiathos, one of the nearby islands of Sporades. He never returned back to his place of origin. He was strongly related to the “Vainopoulos family of Damouhari (read History of Damouchari), since his wife Elektra was the daughter of Apostolos and Victoria (our great grandparents). Later, the house was rented by a local man with the name Panagiotis Tsamis and hosted a wine store and an inn for fishermen, who used to spread their nets on its big terrace and dry them in the sun.

In 1969 the building was bought by a german merchant, called Eckart Lau and his partner called Ulrich Steigleder). Eckart was visiting Greece often looking for greek traditional tissues, blankets, sheets, rugs e.t.c. made from local women in the loom and was exporting them to Germany. In one of his journeys to East Pelio he fell in love with the little village of Damouhari and its stony house with the wooden terrace just next to the harbor. He decided, then, to buy it and transform it into a hotel. It was the moment that Damouchari’s touristic development actually started. Eckart and Ulrich promoted the area and the hotel abroad and especially to their country. Since then, a lot of foreigners stayed at the hotel, while they were visiting Pilion, loved it and became regular guests. Every year they were passing here their holidays and thus, they obtained very strong and intimate relationships with the local community. In 1974 the very famous, at that time, actress Romi Schneider passed here her summer vacation with her little son and an entourage of about more than ten women who protected and took care of her and the boy (read Romi Schneider).

Because of its foreign ownership, the building became known, among the natives and the habitues of the region, with the name “To Ghermaniko”, which in greek means “The German”. Its so characteristic name was maintained and officialised by the new owners (Apostolia-Victoria Vainopoulos and Paschalis Olkas family), considering that To Ghermaniko has its own history and identity (independent of owners) in the village of Damouharι. The current proprietors (with native origins) bought the abandonded, at that period, house from Eckart Lau and Ulrich Steigleder in 2001 and they proceeded directly to its renovation. They preserved all the traditional elements, adding only few new features neccessary for a pleasant stay and for the harmonisation of the building with the standards of modern hoteling.