The Maison des Couleurs is housed in the mansion of the Tsaliki family, which is situated in the traditional village of Platanos, overlooking the Castle of the island and the Aegean sea. Emmanuel Tsalikis was born in turkish-occupied Leros in 1835. As many other locals, he followed the migration stream to Egypt, where together with a cousin, he became engaged in the cotton trade. Thanks to his diligence and ingenuity he acquired great wealth. During the Mahdist Revolt against the Anglo Egyptian administration, Emmanuel Tsalikis was found to be feeding the English army in Sudan. The British offered him a noble title for his services, but he denied any privileges saying: “I am Greek and I prefer to remain Greek.” Four of the five children he had with his wife Maria Theologou grew and studied in Europe.
Their love for their country urged them to return and their economic prosperity allowed them to build the mansion in 1907 on one of the most beautiful parts of the island. Influenced by theneoclassical architecture of Alexandria, they constructed a two-storey house in that style. Many Lerians remember the Tsaliki family coming to the island. Their arrival was quite an event for the small society of the place. Every year the same ritual; hundreds of trunks – some of which are still in the hotel – full of fabrics, spices and precious objects that were unseen in Leros at the time, were transported from the port to the house. The Tsaliki family was also known for its majestic celebrations that took place in the mansion.
In 1912 Leros was occupied by the Italians, the house was rented by the italian army and was used as a pantry. The rental agreement is on display at the Folklore Museum of Leros (it is referred to as Storage Facility # 9 of 12 such facilities of the Italian army). Later, during World War II and the German invasion of the island, the house was seriously damaged, while after the release of the Dodecanese islands in 1945, it returned to the ownership of the Tsaliki family.
In 2009 the mansion reopened its doors, now as a boutique hotel. The restoration and maintenance took several years, in order to preserve one of the island’s historic homes, reminding us of the passion of the people of the time, their elegance, their knowledge, but most of all the respect they held for the environment. The Tsaliki mansion was classified as a monument by the Ministry of Culture. In its written declaration, the Ministry states: “The Tsaliki mansion is a typical example of a Dodecanese mansion, important for the study of the evolution of architecture in the region. It combines the morphological and architectural features of the neoclassical style with the simple lines of Aegean architecture and is connected with the memories of local residents”.