20 September 2013

'NERAIDA' - A floating museum was in Ermioni 19 - 20 September '13

A piece of history returned to the 'island' town of Ermioni,  I suppose living her, one is privileged to learn about the history associated with this vessel, called Neraida.  She was built in Italy in 1939 and first sailed under the name of Laurana. During the Second World War, she served as a hospital ship.  After having survived the Second World War, the ship was bought by John Latsis.  Shortly afterwards, it began running passenger routes in the Saronic Gulf, under the name it still has today.

The Neraida was considered as one of the fastest ships of its day in Greece.  She became famous in Ermioni, as being the only fast steam ship to link the charming town of Ermioni, with Piraeus.  It hosted statesmen and public celebrities.  In 1956, she was used in the film 'Boy on a Dolphin', which starred Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd.

When the time came for the boat to be de-commissioned from its Argo Saronic ferry service, she was reconstructed and since, has become a floating museum.  Prior to her sailing to her final permanent home, Neraida called in to say her final farewell to all her previous ports of call, during her ferry service period.  Her final sailing was from Ermioni to Piraeus today, which will be her final resting place.

The floating museum is all about preserving and showing part of the modern Greek business history.  In part, it is also a biographical museum, contained within the historical shell of the museum-ship itself.  The exhibition contains three main sections:

  • Exhibition space A presents the history of the ship from 1939 - 1974.
  • Exhibition space B presents the chronicle of the rebuilding of the ship, from 2007 - 2010.
  • The central museum space focuses on the business career of John S. Latsis, presenting many of his business decisions and actions, within the context of international and Greek political, economic and social developments.
  • The Multi-function room, which contains a photographic exhibition, can serve as a conference space and lecture theatre, as well as hosting educational programmes.

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