Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis - Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη  
A citizen's rights should include
the right to know one's history.

Philippos Iliou

The history of the "Museum of Democracy" building
The building now occupied by the Museum of Democracy was constructed with funds donated by the Alexandria-based Ayios Efstratios Confraternity towards the end of the nineteenth century and was used as a school - the first on the island - until the Maraslios-Logothetios School was opened in 1909. For most of the time since then it has served either as the infirmary for political exiles or as the community clinic.

The Infirmary comprised a consulting room, four wards with a total of twenty beds, an operating theatre, kitchen and fresh water cistern. In the first year of the German occupation the Gendarmerie kept all the political exiles in the Infirmary. In the course of their incarceration here, 33 political exiles - many of them taken into custody during or after the workers' uprising of May 1936 in Thessaloniki - died of starvation.

The building was so badly damaged by the 1968 earthquake that it had to be abandoned. It remained derelict until 2005, when the Modern Monuments and Engineering Works Service of North Aegean started restoration works. In November 2007 the restoration works were completed and the monument was officially opened by the Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

The island's first school, later used as the exiles' infirmary, in a 1982 photograph.
Photographic archive of Ioannis Arg. Yannos.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Today's view of the Building