Ilios Melathron is located in the center of Athens.
It was built between 1878-1879 according to the plans of the German architect Ernest Ziller, as the residence of the Schliemann family.
Its name, which means “palace of Troy”, is associated with the unveiling of the ancient city by Henry Schliemann.
The building has two floors with very impressive decoration. The first floor functioned mainly as a space for the social life of the family. The banquet hall for the receptions, the literary lounge for the literary evenings, the reception hall and the dining room are structured around a central space. On the second floor were the bedrooms, offices and library. On the ground floor were the auxiliary rooms, the rooms of the service personnel, as well as the room where the findings from the excavations in Troy were exhibited. In the large garden at the back there was a depot and a stable.
Ilios Melathron is considered one of the most remarkable works of Ziller.
It follows the neoclassical style combining elements from the Italian Renaissance, such as the two balconies on the facade, which give lightness and elegance to the volume of the building.
Technological innovations were applied in the building, such as the ventilation with ducts behind the perforated plaster thorn that runs through the roof of each room, the heating with gas , but also the protection from fire by using wood only on the doors and windows.
The construction of the building was supervised by the engineer Vassilios Drosinos , a personal friend of Schliemann.
The construction of the building cost the then large amount of 439,650 drachmas .
The inauguration of the luxury residence took place with a glorious reception on January 30, 1881.
The decoration of the building expresses Schliemann’s great passion for antiquity and harmonizes with his efforts to be projected as a man of letters and arts.
The ceilings and murals are the work of the Slovenian painter Jurij Subic (1855-1890) , known for his work in Vienna and Paris, who worked for a year and was paid 8,500 drachmas.
The written decoration of the walls is characterized by the reproduction of themes from the frescoes of Pompeii houses and the inscription of selected excerpts from works by ancient Greek authors, such as Homer, Hesiod, Pindar and Lucian.
The mosaic floors , made by Italian voters and cost 20,201 drachmas, depict finds from Schliemann’s excavations or themes inspired by them.
The metal decorations of the exterior and interior were made in a workshop in Piraeus.
The decoration of the mansion was completed by clay copies of ancient statues made in Vienna, three of which were placed in the garden and twenty-four around the roof.
Ilios Melathron, after the death of Eric Schliemann in 1890, was bequeathed to his wife Sophia, who lived in it with their two children.
Sophia Schliemann was the first to make changes to the appearance and decoration of the building. In 1923 he proceeded with the construction of a building in contact with the SE side of the building, in order to create functional spaces.
In 1926 the building was sold to the Greek State to meet the needs of the Schliemann family, instead of the amount of 27,000,000 drachmas . The expense was covered through the bequest of Alexandros Soutzos , in order to house the Museum of Fine Arts and the Numismatic Museum. However, from 1929 the building housed successively the Council of State (1929-1934) , the Supreme Court (1934-1980) and the Court of Appeal (1981-1983) .
In 1983 , the State Real Estate Company granted Ilios Melathron to the Ministry of Culture . After restoration work on the building, the Ilios Melathron houses the Numismatic Museum, initially in 1998 with its permanent exhibition on the first floor and since 2003 with the transfer of its collections, library and offices.