Photographer's Note

Γράμματα είν' τά λόια σου τσαί τό Πυργκί σκολειό μου,
Τσ ' εώ Πυργκούη θά εννώ, ά τό κάω ωργκιό μου.

Yannis Psyharis

"The painterly village" it is called because the tradition of decoration the houses with black and white geometrical figures. These are called "ksista". The origin of the tradition is unknown. Some say it originated in the Byzantine period of Hios, Greece other say that the Genoese brought this "graffiti". Whatever the origin it gives the town of Pirgi a great atmosphere.

In the "ksista" there are three different styles. The first style is one of simple geometric rectangles of different sizes to cover the entire surface.

The second style has a greater variety of figures such as simple circles and triangles. The third style has more room for creative patterns for example flowers. There are still artists on Hios, Greece today that are specialized in making the traditional decoration. Although the drawings seem simple in form they need an amount of experience and knowledge.

As Pirgi is in mastic area of the island it had strategic importance to the Genoese when they exploited the mastic cultivated in the island.

The house on the out side border of the village were build side by side without any space between them. Also there were no doors or windows on the outer side. To enter the city there were two main gates at the north and south. This created a fortress to protect the village and inhabitants from dangers. Walking through the streets of Pirgi one can see hanging tomatoes which are cultivated in a special way. By given virtually no water to the tomatoes they stay small and hard in the outside. inside the tomatoes become then juicy and full of flavor.

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Additional Photos by GALANTIS LOUKAKIS (greek) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 960 W: 0 N: 548] (7594)
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