MEGALOS PRINOS-KAZAVITI

It is not just the place. It is the people too. It is not just the tranquility which is offered from the imperceptible heartbeat of the life around, and the vibrancy that is defined from its people, who have chosen to stigmatize its everyday life, or to be stigmatized by its history. It is an interactive, interdependent, and by all means inevitable relationship, if we want to characterize a place as a "beautiful" one.

Such a place is Kazaviti. Gracious, tranquil, and selflessly attractive. Hidden under pine trees and aged breams, Kazaviti is found in 350 meters altitude, with two giant cypresses to stand for centuries watching the history to unfold around their deep roots. The old cobblestones are there too to hide stories of peaceful and hawkish times.

The form, by which the settlement Kazaviti is saved till nowadays, is mostly of the 19th century, as the oldest verifications that we have from houses' inscriptions are of 1806 and 1807, when habitants of the coastal areas began to move towards the mountainsides. The cause of this internal emigration is the piracy's prominence of which evident marks are appeared at the middle of the 17th century. The construction and designing of the stone houses follow in the slightest detail the Macedonian architecture and style, which even in our days is still preserved, with painted ceilings, woodcarving storage furnitures and spacious wooden balconies, built by artisans from West Macedonia and North Epirus.

The co-occupation of Egyptian and Ottoman Empire (1813-1902), and the simultaneous re-occupation of the island from the Turkish army (1902-1912), year of liberation by the Greek navy, deprive from the village's habitants their freedom but on the same time the sentiment of their Greek identity become even more powerful.

Traces of co-occupation of the two Moslem states in Kazaviti, are the Islamic religious trusts ( Turkish word vakif1 ), the Tzami (Mosque), which is situated precisely under the village's central parking space, foundations of which will see the light after excavations, the Konaki (deriving from the Turkish word konak2 ), that is located behind the two gigantesque cypresses where the old Turkish prisons were, and an old Kafenio just beside the village's central parking space, where the first church and the cemeteries were found.

April 1941 to October 1941, and the Nazi Germany cede Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace to her ally, Bulgaria. The severities are enormous and the destitution of basic goods hinders the life of the village's habitants. The occupational forces, take advantage of the region's productive wealth and the families are forced to tuck a little bit of olive oil from their own trees to their cellars, in order to subsist with everyday sketchy meals.

The civil Greek war begins (1946-1949), and the disunity corrodes the relationships among villagers. Many habitants pass to the front of Resistance and their families with the risk of their life; supply them with ammunitions, food provisions and clothing, by crossing entire ravines, in order not to be perceptible from the royalist forces and extreme-right wing forces, for meeting them to the glades and caves. The tragedy continued the following years to the court-martials with thousands of soldiers in prison and massive exiles to deserted islands (Saint Stratis, Makronisos, Gyaros). The persecutions and the systematic torturing of the left-wing population continued for many years and practically they arrived to an end after the political changeover, and the falling of Junta in 1974.

Difficult years but in the antipode, a daily routine of habits and works was established, where bonds were being reformed and became even more dominant. The fields should be cultivated by men, (Kazaviti even 40 years ago was surrounded by vineyards which produced an excellent quality's exportable wine), and women should prepare the meal to the casserole based on the fireplace's trivet. The children were inventing ways of staying in their "immaturity", with games to village's neighborhoods. Clapping game, Hopscotch, Jumpsies, Huckle buckle beanstalk, were few of the games that were played in each narrow passing among houses, or to small colorful and fragrant yards, while the masters of the houses exhausted from the work in the fields and mountains, were gathering to the coffeehouse of the square to play cards and drink tsipouro3.

Special position in the history of that place was the school that was open in Kazaviti, the equivalent music high school in our days, where many musical instruments were taught, especially brasses. It was the only school in Thassos at his days (around 1900), which had the means to taught theory of music and musical instruments. A special event which was taken place during the period of Carnival was the Carnival parade from Kazaviti to the smaller village Parachora (a distance smaller of 500 meters). The one and only float of the parade, this one of Kazaviti's music school which was representing a pirate ship was burned when the parade was arriving to its end. A well known graduate of that school was Malolas Liolios, a named Thassian instrumentalist.

Years were passing by and the village was silently deserted. The 70's find lots of his habitants to prefer to be found near their olive groves, and the streets are patiently accepting thickly layers of plane tree leaves. Although, lovers of this traditional settlement are trying for once more to search out the beauty of this place and in our days it is seems to regain its prestige.


The sources of this text are from websites and narrations of Evgalos Tirologos, artisan, music instrumentalist and well-known personality of Kazaviti.