History of Macedonia 1354-1833

A. Vacalopoulos


XIII. The economic, cultural and political influences of Macedonian emigrants upon their native towns


4. Kastoriá, Kleisoijra and Ohrid



In the upper reaches of the Aliákmon, at its northernmost point, stands Kastoriá (Kesrye in Turkish), on the site of the ancient Cele-



Fig. 140. Kastoria

Fig. 140. Kastoria.

(Photo Socr. Iordanides)



trum [1]. The German geographer, L. Schultze Jena calls it 'the unshakeable bastion of Hellenism in Northern Greece' [2]. Around the middle of



1. Pouqueville, Voyage, vol. 2, p. 515, vol. 3, pp. 1-11.


2. For the physical geography of the Kastoriá district see Ami Boué, Die europäische Türkei, Vienna 1889, vol. 1, pp. 123-124. Α little about the fortunes of Kastoriá and about the geography of the district can be found in Leonard Schultze Jena, Makedonien. Landschafts- und Kulturbilder, pp. 174-175. See also pp. 175-179, where there are a great number of geological observations on the upper basin of the Aliákmon. Α little about the history of Kastoriá is to be found in «Ἑλλάς» (guidebook) of Eleftheroudakis, Athens 1930, 2nd edit., p. 612. See also Ant. Keramopoullos, Ὀρεστικὸν Ἄργος - Διοκλητιανούπολις - Καστοριά, B.-N.J. 9 (1932) 54-63. For the administrative division of the district see Boué, ibid., 2, p. 110. Our oldest information on Kastoria is based on the notes culled by the Metropolitan of Kastoriá and later of Didymóteichon, Philaretos Vapheides, from the register of the Metropolitan Church of Kastoriá, Κῶδιξ τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μητροπόλεως Καστοριάς καὶ τινα ἐκκλησιαστικὰ βιβλία ἐναποκείμενα ἔν τισι τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν αυτής, «Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ Ἀλήθεια» 20 (1900) 108-110, which is preserved in the Manuscript Section of the National Library (ref. no. 2751-2753). See also Tsamisis, Καστοριά, pp. 96-100.





the 19th century, Kastoriá (see fig. 140) was the seat of a kaymakam (governor of a kaza), who received his authority from the governor of Rumeli. His jurisdiction embraced the districts of Kolónia, Opára, Vehlítsa, Gkiórtza and Anaselítsa [1]. These were the palmy days of Kastoriá, her prosperity being based on the fur trade [2]. Many of her citizens emigrated and set themselves up in the Ottoman capital; a number of them, in fact, succeeded in acquiring considerable power and influence, like Manolakis of Kastoriá who became kürçübaşı, i.e. president of the guild of furriers [3].


Under the Turks, Kastoriá became a leading centre of education. It had a school before 1614; and this was enriched by various bequests made by George Kyritsis and Chrysanthus Notaras, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Amongst the teachers who taught at the school should be mentioned the name of Gerasimos Palladas of Crete, later Patriarch of Alexandria (1688-1710). Unable to return to Crete after the Turkish occupation of 1669, Palladas went to Kastoriá, where he appears to have taught until 1688 [4].


From notes in the register of the Metropolitan Church of Kastoriá we learn that the city's educational prominence was owed chiefly to the energies of its emigrants. For instance, on page 42a of the register is recorded a letter dated 20 May 1682 from the Kastorians in Constantinople, who beg "the most honourable archons of Kastoriá... to address a letter to Manolakis of Kastoriá in Constantinople, that he might co-operate in building a school in Kastoriá, such as those enjoyed by Yánnina, Árta, Anatolikón, Athens and Thessalonica" [5]. It is highly probable



1. Aravantinos, Χρονογραϕία τῆς Ἠπείρου, vol. 2, p. 75.


2. Article of Th. Ph. Papakonstantinou, Καστοριά, «Μεγάλη Ἑλληνικὴ Ἐγκυκλοπαίδεια».


3. See also Tsamisis, ibid., pp. 216-218.


4. Evangelides, ibid., 1, p. 118. On Gerasimos Palladas see Chrysostomos Papadopoulos, Σαμουὴλ Καπασούλης, πάπας καὶ πατριάρχης Ἀλεξανδρείας (1661-1723), Alexandria 1912, p. 6.


5. Vapheides, Κῶδιξ, p. 110a. On Manolakis see Sk. Byzantios, Ἡ Κωνσταντινούπολις, Athens 1851, vol. 2, p. 288. On the interesting personality of this great scion of Kastoriá and his multifarious and benificent activities in many parts of Greece, see a wealth of information in P. Karolides, Ἱστορία τῆς Ἑλλάδος (1453-1862), Athens 1925, pp. 454-455. The scattered details about Manolakis could well be collated to make a full picture of the man. See bibliography about him in M. Manousakas, Συμβολὴ εἰς τὴν ἱστορίαν τῆς ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει Πατριαρχικῆς Σχολῆς, «Ἀθηνᾶ» 54 (1950) 3-28, particularly p. 4, n. 1. For the confusion that existed between Manolakis and Manuel Hypsilantis see the article of G. Arvanitides, Μανωλάκης Καστοριανὸς καὶ Maνονὴλ Ὑψηλάντης, «Ὁ Βιβλιόϕιλος» year 4, no 2 (April - June 1950) 35-36.





that Manolakis, an extremely wealthy and powerful figure, complied with his compatriots' desires.


In 1705 a second school, an ecclesiastical one in this case, was built in the Mouzevíki district of Kastoriá and maintained with money provided by George Kastriotis that had been deposited in the mint (Zecca) at Venice [1]. The subjects taught at the school were: the Octoëchos, the Psalter, the Book of Hours, the Euchologion, the '8 divisions of grammar', and authors such as Chrysoloras, Dionysius Cato and Phocylides [2].


In 1715 a third school appeared in Kastoriá; a private establishment belonging to the great benefactor, George Kyritzis. In a second will drawn up on 11 January 1716 — a year after the first one — and engrossed on 23 August 1721 by the public notary of Corfu, Elevtherios Tsarnados, Kyritzis made significant new donations to the school to meet additional bursaries, as well as to the Church of the Entombment at Jerusalem, to the Holy Mountain, and to numerous monasteries, churches, ecclesiastical foundations, indigent priests, persons imprisoned at Kastoriá, to the 'Home for Foundlings', for the redemption of slaves, etc. [3].


Α number of prominent teachers taught at Kastoriá at one time or another: men like Methodius Anthrakites, Anastasius Vasilopoulos. Between 1715 and 1770 the headmaster was Thomas Mandakassis, doctor and philosopher, who had studied under Voulgaris at Kozáni. Around the end of the 18th century Thomas Oikonomou, a former pupil of Amphilochios Paraskevas, was headmaster; and during the second decade of the 19th century, Argyrios Papa Rizou of Siátista, who left behind him a great name as a benefactor. Amongst other scholars from Kastoriá are to be mentioned the names of John Emmanuel, the



1. See Vapheides, Κῶδιξ, p. 124a. Α. Papadopoulos - Kerameus, Ανάλεκτα ἱεροσολυμιτικῆς σταχνολογίας, Petroupolis 1894, vol. 2, pp. 323-326. See also Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, pp. 467-471. Manolakis is related to have lent money to various prelates. (P. G. Zerlentis, Ἱγνάτιος ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀχριδῶν, Πρόεδρος Χίου, «Χιακὰ χρονικὰ» 6 (1925) 110).


2. Evangelides, Παιδεία, 1, p. 119, where relevant bibliography can be found.


3. Vapheides, ibid., p. 125a-b. For Kyritzis' benefactions see also G. Chrestides, Αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῆς Καστοριάς, «Γρηγόριος ὁ Παλαμᾶς» 6 (1922) 170. See also Anast. K. Orlandos, Τὰ Βυζαντινὰ μνημεῖα τῆς Καστοριάς, «Ἀρχεῖον τῶν Βυζαντινῶν μνημείων τῆς Ἑλλάδος» 4 (1938) 169, n. 1. Regarding the aristocratic families of Kastoriá and their activities see Tsamisis, Καστοριά, pp. 178 ff.





doctor Constantine Michael, and Athanasius Christopoulos, sometimes styled 'the Anacreon of modern Greek poetry' [1].


In the years preceeding the Greek insurrection of 1770 the situation in Kastoriá became increasingly difficult through the incursions of Albanian irregulars and the ensuing period of Albanian domination. The position grew still worse after 1770, when the inhabitants suffered greatly at the hands of the Albanian marauders, who were bent on extracting their ulûfes (pay). Any number of memoranda recall the events of that awful period [2]. Echoing these fortunes, no doubt, is the entry on page 140 of the cathedral register, which deals with a covenant drawn up by the notables of Kastoriá on 17th July 1764: "...we hereby bind ourselves in this period of misery to work together in the common in-terest in a spirit of harmony and love" [3]. On page 146 of the same register is quoted a letter from Euthymius of Kastoriá and the Kastorian community, addressed to the Patriarch Samuel, in which they recount the tragic situation obtaining in the dioceses. This they ascribe to "a veritable scourge of men, though a Christian himself". Α number of inhabitants of Kastoriá, Kleisoúra and Mavrovo then settled in Constantinople (their names are mentioned in the letter) were conversant with the facts and in a position to confirm the truth of this report [4]. For us, however, who have not sufficient information at our disposal, the problem as to who is meant by this unnamed Christian scourge' remains. Probably some Christian notable, who was on friendly terms with the Turks and Albanians, was instrumental in disturbing the life of the Christian inhabitants of the district.


Pouqueville, who visited Kastoriá at the beginning of the 19th century, describes with full lyrical detail the impression which the remains from the ancient Greek and Byzantine periods had upon him, as well as the Turkish, Greek and Jewish districts, etc. [5]. An emigrant from Macedonia, Panayiotis Papanaoum — a junior pupil at the school of Kastoriá at the time — preserves for us a recollection of Pouqueville's



1. Paranikas, Σχεδίασμα, p. 33-54. On Argyrios Papa Rizou see also «Νέα Πανδώρα» 4 (1853-1854) 387a: Περιγραϕὴ τῆς ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ Καστοριάς ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Πουκεβίλλου περιηγήσεως εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐρανισθεῖσα καὶ μετὰ τινων προσθηκῶν αὐξηθεῖσα ὑπὸ Παύλου Ἰωάννου. See also Vacalopoulos, Δυτικόμακεδόνες ἀπόδημοι, p. 19. On the schools of Kastoriá in the year 1826 see facts in Tsamisis, Καστοριά, p. 48.


2. Tsamisis, ibid., p. 34.


3. Vapheides, Κῶδιξ, 125b.


4. Ibid., p. 125b.


5. Pouqueville, Voyage, vol. 3, pp. 1-11.





visit: "In the year 1814, if I am not mistaken, a certain European traveller had visited my native city, and this was (as I learnt later) Mr. Pouqueville, who was at that time French consul in Yánnina. It was the first time that the kind of clothes he wore had been seen in Kastoriá and they greatly excited the curiosity of the children, who would run behind him whenever they met him. This gentleman would visit without distinction churches, mosques, synagogues—in fact, anything of interest which my native city had to offer. On one such occasion, after the end of school, all those of us who were pupils of the priest Paul were playing together in the city square, called Doltzos, when the traveller, attired in Western clothes, appeared in our midst and began asking each of us our names. After the Albanian invasion of the Morea in 1773, a refugee family had come over and settled in Kastoriá, and was known by the nickname of Moraïtes. Α boy from this family—he was called Naoum Moraïtes—happened to be amongst us on this occasion; and when the traveller heard the name, he composed the following couplet in purist Greek and it has remained fixed indelibly in my memory ever since:


"Κάλλια σκύλον ἀπὸ τὴν Κρήτην

παρὰ ϕίλον Μωρατην".

(Α hound from Crete would be more dear

 To have as friend than a man from Moréa).


Leake also provides us with a wealth of information about Kastoriá —its location, antiquities, industry, cultural life etc. [2]. The city contained in sum 1.600 families, Christian, Turkish and Jewish [3].


Pouqueville has described excursions he made to places of interest in the vicinity, and speaks of the Lake of Kastoriá and the fish that were caught there (he describes the γουλιανοὶ — a kind of catfish — in great detail!) [4].


The majority of the inhabitants in and around Kastoriá were engaged, as they still are today, in the fur trade. The most prosperous amongst them had businesses not only in European Turkey but also in Vi-



1. Moullas, Ἕνας Μακεδόνας ἀπόδημος, pp. 125-126. On the churches of Kastoriá during the Turkish occupation see Tsamisis, Καστοριά, pp. 29, 172 ff., 176 ff.


2. Leake, Travels, 1, pp. 323-332.


3. Pouqueville, Voyage, 3, p. 9.


4. Pouqueville, ibid., 3, pp. 9-11. On the subject of Kastoriá, see a good number of facts marshalled without discrimination in Zotos Molossos, Ἠπειρωτικαὶ Μακεδονικαὶ Μελέται, vol. IV, pp. 254-257. See also Leake, ibid., 1, pp. 325-328.





enna, Leipzig, Dresden and even Moscow [1]. Indeed, Kastoriá's fur industry led the field right up to the beginning of this century. Its spe-



Fig. 141. Woman's dress from Kastoriá

Fig. 141. Woman's dress from Kastoriá.



cialities included fine sables and marten-skins used for making ladies' capes and men's cloaks [2]. The widespread prosperity of Kastorians was



1. Pouqueville, Voyage, 3, pp. 1-2.


2. Article of Th. P. on Καστοριά, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 1 (1908) 265-266: "Up to a certain date the furs manufactured at Kastoriá were sold only in Turkey, but for many years now there has been a considerable export of furs to Leipzig, whence they are imported into Paris and London".





reflected in the beautiful women's costumes and the profusion of valuable jewelry (see fig. 141).


Writing after the First World War, L. Schultze Jena observes that half the population (some 6.000 persons) were connected directly or indirectly with the trade in furs with Leipzig, Paris, London and New York. The outstanding and unrivalled skill of the Kastorians is illustrated nowhere better than in the manipulation of χορδάδες. These are tiny scraps of fur, hardly more than a few inches long, imported from abroad. They are fitted and sown together with such expertise that the finished articles have all the appearance of single pieces of fur. These are then sold on the world markets at a price comparable with that of whole furs [1].


Α manuscript supposed to be of Char. Megdanis gives some brief and general information about the environs of Kastoriá around the beginning of the 19th century. We read, for instance, that the 'Καστοριανὴ τοπαρχία', as this area was referred to, contained 150 villages. For the purposes of military administration it came under the Rumeli Paşa, who had his headquarters at Monastir, and for ecclesiastical matters under the Metropolitan of Kastoriá. It was a mountainous and uneven stretch of country with forests that supplied all the timber the locals required, and with pasture that provided grazing for a good number of cattle. In addition there were plenty of fruit-trees of various kinds, but as regards cereals the area was not able to meet local requirements. The majority of the inhabitants went for periods abroad or else worked as joiners, builders or merchants in various parts of the Turkish empire. "Few of the villages above Kastoriá are inhabited by Turks, the majority being Christian. Those below the city (i.e. to the south) are inhabited by Christian Greeks, and a number of these to the west by Vlachs" [2].


Kleisoúra, lying to the east of Kastoriá, likewise enjoyed a period of considerable economic prosperity and social development thanks to the trade carried on by its inhabitants living in Serbia, Austria (Vienna), Moldavia, Odessa and elsewhere in Europe, and in cities within the Ottoman empire such as Thessalonica, Kavála and Constantinople. These merchants made substantial donations towards the construction



1. L. Schultze Jena, Makedonien Landschafts- und Kulturbilder, p. 175. For details see Tsamisis, Καστοριά, pp. 218-219.


2. Kalinderis, Γραπτὰ Μνημεῖα, p. 24. For more detailed information about the villages around Kastoriá see Pouqueville, ibid., 3, pp. 11-18. On the Kastanochória see study of Panayiotides, Τὰ Καστανοχώρια, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 4 (1911) 133-143.





of a number of excellent schools, well endowed with scholastic equipment and books. They also contributed generously towards the building of churches and provided them with valuable sacred vessels and ceremonial robes [1].


Mention must also be made of the Greek school at Ohrid, which was functioning in the 18th century. It was situated near the archiepiscopal church of St. Clement and had, so it seems, no lack of financial support. Its excellent reputation had spread to beyond the city and attracted donations from people who had no real connection with Ohrid [2].



1. G. Κ., Ἡ Κλεισούρα, «Μακεδονικὸν Ἡμερολόγιον» 1 (1925) 116-118. See also Ant. Sigalas, Κῶδιξ σχολείων κοινότητος Κλεισούρας (1830-1926), «Μακεδονικὰ» 1 (1940) 500-506.


2. Snegarov, History of the archbishopric of Ohrid, p. 342.


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