The old building on the island of Cunda, overlooking the Aegean Sea, at the end of the restaurant strip has intrigued me for years. I thought it could have been an old hotel manifesting local architectural styles and construction techniques. It has been in disrepair for as long as I remember, slowly decaying as if it had been condemned to a slow death.
It Used to Be an Orphanage
It was during my trip in 2012 I learned that it used to be an orphanage and was in operation until the mid to late 1980s. As I moved around the periphery of the building to document its current state, I could not help to wonder why anyone would abandon a building, a property like this one at a premium location. Its residents were moved to a modern building just behind it and this stately structure was left to decay and rot. It still projected the character and style of an era when it probably stood rather proud, overlooking the sea.
I started photographing from the backside of the building. The severity of decay was most visible from this angle with a collapsed balcony, an entryway filled with debris. Peeling paint on the walls showed multiple layers of colors indicating earlier paint jobs on the exterior. As I got closer, I noticed that a good part of the floor and much of the ceiling of the lobby were no longer there. I thought that this much destruction could not have happened by simply the material deteriorating by itself. The human touch was clearly at play, first by totally neglecting it, and second, by physically tearing parts of it down.
The Residence of the Priest
I am not sure what will become of this building. Perhaps some people are waiting for it to fully collapse so that a new structure can be erected, perhaps a casino, a 5-star hotel, who knows. What I have come to realize is that the building that once was the home of the Greek Orthodox priest (then called Despot,) then provided a home to orphans now has become an orphan itself.