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TravellingModern Macedonia

Modern Macedonia

The region of Grevena

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Saint Kosmas the Younger
Wall-painting of saint Kosmas the Younger, by Christos and Antonios Papaioannou, church-painters from Samarina, 1829, Samarina, Megali Panayia.

The Virgin, from the church of Profitis Elias
Wall-painting in the narthex with the Virgin and Christ, circa 1900, Samarina, church of Profitis Elias.

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Saint Kosmas the Younger
Samarina, 1829

The Virgin, from the church of Profitis Elias
Samarina, circa 1900

Samarina was founded in 15th century on the wooded slopes of Mount Smolikas, west of Grevena. This market town in the Pindos mountains with its Vlach population enjoyed three successive centuries of exceptional economic growth and cultural development. On a map from 1560, it is shown under the name Santa Maria de Praetoria.

Its inhabitants tended sheep and goats and wove a woolen fabric called 'velentza', which they sold at the region's trade fairs. The people of Samarina were also involved in trade, and as muleteers they headed the long caravans that traveled all over the Balkans. The level of culture reached by this town (it had both schools and a library) is evident in the excellence of its religious painting.

Artists from Samarina, organized into family teams, covered not only local needs but also branched out into other regions, as far away as the Peloponnese. After the liberation of 1913, the residents of Samarina and other mountain villages began to move down to the urban centers of the plains; many of them also emigrated abroad.

See Also
History - The period from 1908 to 1912
Civilization - Painting in the Modern Period
Art in Modern period
Letters in the Modern period
Travelling - Modern Macedonia
In Focus - Thessaloniki from the 18th to the 20th century

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.