Molista
Scroll down to explore one of the three "Stone Villages"

Molista (Mesaria)

1024 502 Epirus Explorer

Molista
If you were my homeland,
my own town,
you would read in my eyes,
and the fountain would not murmur
so sad,
Molista, Molista
Corner inhabited with the Slavic name
Extremes of my loneliness.
And yet
the stranger loved you
that morning.

Renos Apostolidis, Poetic letters 1949

ABOUT MOLISTA

It belongs to the historical and cultural unit of Mastorochoria of Konitsa and is one of the villages that collectively developed activity in various sectors with such success, so that they are historically identified with them.

From Molista as well as from the other villages known as “Mastorochoria of Konitsa” comes a large part of the craftsmen of Epirus. Builders who, using every material according to the local conditions, managed to build houses based on the Byzantine architectural tradition, to build bridges with stone arches, to carve works of art on stone, to give breath to the wood and to decorate not only the mainland but to also promote their art beyond and outside Greece .

Settlements and population

In the valley that is formed at the foot of Gyftissa, the peak of Smolikas, from long ago there were scattered houses that formed the settlement of Sioupostiani. (According to local tradition, “gypsy” is called a peak east of the village, where a barefoot gypsy woman with black hair and copperplates came out and played the tambourine when the Turkish Kotzambasis came to collect from the villagers the local taxes).

From ancient times until the 19th century, one of the main communication routes of Epirus and Macedonia passed through there. According to sources, before its desolation, the settlement was formed with 40 families, the church of Agios Dimitrios with the cemetery and the church of the Nativity of the Virgin.

The Slavs who settled there between the 6th and the 14th centuries, were over time hellenized.

After the 10th century there are residential and population changes that result in the desolation of existing settlements and the formation of new ones, as well as the escape of existing residents and the settlement of new ones. In the province of Konitsa from the 14th century there were many villages several of which, until 1800, were deserted.

These developments also affected the area of ​​Molista. The places where the three villages were built in the locations Sioupostiani, Palichimata and Eltsi were the most suitable places for settlements. In a short distance there were arable lands, pastures, river and springs for water supply and irrigation, operation of watermills and fishing, woods for timber and hunting. In addition, the riverside highway of Epirus-Macedonia created employment opportunities for a portion of the inhabitants in the maintenance of the bridges and the existing inns and at the same time facilitated the inhabitants in their movement and trade.

Names – Renames

The toponym Supostiani (Sioupostiani, Siopostiani, Sipostiani) is Slavic and means a settlement in a place with many waters. However, the fact that there are no springs with abundant water does not justify the origin of the name. So the only theory that could stand is that the Serbian immigrants came from the area of ​​Serbia Sopotsani, where there was a Serbian Orthodox monastery and church with excellent frescoes founded by the King Stefan Ures (or Uresis) IV Dusan. Sopotsani is located near Novi Pazar and a short distance from Zitsa, where there is a large medieval monastery and from where the immigrants who named Zitsa the village of Ioannina, where they settled. The immigrants of Serbian Sopotsani settled in the area of ​​Supostani here probably during the 14th century, bringing here the icon of Panagia Molista. In these areas the Greeks were few but later and until the 17th century they increased and prevailed.

Another version that the name may have originated in ancient Molossia does not seem plausible.

According to tradition, the settlement of Sioupostiani was deserted either due to a plague epidemic or due to frequent robbery attacks, because it was located near the main road Kapilιο-Fourka-Macedonia. Most of the inhabitants emigrated abroad, some moved near Istanbul where I named the new settlement Sioupostiani. The rest settled in the surrounding locations: Molista, Gannadio, Messaria or Paliospita, Botsifari, Eltsi, Palichimata and Agia Varvara. In 1672 the monastery was built in Botsifari.

From what appears from evidence in 1750 there were many houses in all three settlements of Molista as well as churches. However, after 1821, due to the changes and unrest that followed the fall of Ali Pasha, many new inhabitants from the rural settlements of Molista or others came and settled in Canadio.

In fact, the residents who did not emigrate abroad ,when they left the village, took with them the icon of Panagia Deomeni (“Molista”) building a new monastery in an uninhabited location near the current location of Botsifari and they named it the monastery of Molista.

Due to the reputation of the monastery, the neighboring community consisting of three non-independent settlements (Ganadio, Messaria and Botsifari) was named Molista, each retaining their own names.

The toponym Mesaria is often found in Greece and means a middle settlement or point located in the middle of a location. The Molistine settlement of Mesaria (today’s Molista) is located between the settlements of Ganadio and Botsifari. In fact, in the opposite place Paliospita near the church of Agia Varvara there was a pre-existing settlement. The current configuration of the settlement must have started at the same time as that of Ganadio and Botsifari.

The first mention of the toponym of Molista is in the code of the monastery Zavorda in Grevena, where the names of residents from Molista who offered financial assistance to the monastery dating back to 1534-1692 are recorded. The historian Ioannis Lampridis in “Zagoriaka” (p. 87) states that after the dissolution of Skamneli in Zagori and the settlements around it, from the raids,a part of the inhabitants took refuge in Moschopolis (Lamprides mentions it as Voskopolis, its original name, probably due to the livestock activities of its older inhabitants), others in Sopiki and others “in Molista”.

Initially in 1919, with special decrees, it was recognized that these three settlements, as well as the monastery of the Virgin Mary, belong to the community of Molista. However, it was later determined that the settlements of Ganadio and Botsifari (which was renamed in 1928 Monastery) are independent communities (from 1920 and 1934 respectively) with the result that Messaria officially acquired the name Molista.

In 1846 the population of Molista reached 623 inhabitants, in 1873 1,482, in 1894 there were 1,500 inhabitants, in 1920 629 and in 1940 688.

ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION – JUSTICE-TAXES

The Greeks were organized in associations, religious (clergy), political (communities “companies”), military (captaincies, armatoloi and kleftes, corsairs) and economic (isnafia, roufetia, companies). In this way they were able to maintain their religion, language, and law, and by constantly tightening the link between these four forms of association, to achieve their freedom. 

In Epirus, the formation and operation of three levels of local self-government had been achieved, namely community, province and prefecture. They, as representatives of the communities, met every year in the provincial capital, under the presidency of Voevoda, and elected one or two prefects as representatives of the province (kotzambasides) and a cashier. These representatives of the provincial government were convened by the Pasha in the capital of the prefecture (santzaki) and held an assembly at which they were determined according to the distribution system the taxes to be collected from each province were determined and which were then determined by the governors of the provinces in the individual communities.

The area of ​​Molista after the Turkish conquest in about 1417 belonged administratively to the kaza (province) of Konitsa which belonged to the santzaki (region) of Korçë and from 1500 to the santzaki of Ioannina.

According to the historian Pan. Aravantinos, the headmen of the kaza (province) of Konitsa, that is, the above persons of power and the “protectors”, mainly Muslims but also Christian elders were always semi-independent and disobedient and supported each other, until 1790 when Ali Pasha managed to subdue them causing disputes between them.

These frequent lootings and raids by the Albanians were the reason for the villages of Konitsa to organize a defense, with the tolerance of the Turks, who were based on a peculiar system of government and self-government consisting of the prostheses of the five circles of their province. These representatives of the five villages of the province of Konitsa represented the opinion of the whole province and were authorized to resolve disputes. Similar systems of government existed in other parts not only of Epirus but also of the entire enslaved Greek area.

The location west of the valley of Vourkopotamos, which today belongs to Gannadio was a derveni (passage) from the 17th century until 1790. The commander of the Derveni guard was subordinated to the captain of the armatoliki, who, as the owner of the armatoliki and responsible for public order in it, collected tolls from the passers-by, and tax from the inhabitants of Armatoliki, due to the protection it provided them.

During the period 1722-1743 the Derveni was guarded by the Molistines and all or some were entitled to collect tolls and in fact at that time the Molistines repulsed an invasion of Albanians in their area. After 1790, Derveni became an outpost with a guard in which dervenagades (dervenagas = leader of the crossing guard) or zaptiedes (gendarmes) served.Also in the area there was a tobacco mill that was built around 1730 and ground the tobacco grown in the areas of Molista and the surrounding villages and operated until 1811. It was granted as an iltizam (annual agreement) to a tenant (multezim) who exercised power over the tobacco growers of Molista, (malikâne, developed as a replacement for iltizam, was lifelong).

ECONOMY – OCCUPATIONS

In the mountains of Epirus, western Macedonia and southern Albania there were always permanent residents, sometimes many and sometimes fewer, who were engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, hunting, home-making and some as craftsmen or merchants.

The older inhabitants of Molista may have been shepherds who in winter went down to the plains of Thesprotia and in summer went up to the vast pastures of Smolikas and Grammos. They were a society that lived constantly facing nature. The system of “tseligato”, system of productive cooperation, determined their pastoral life. A primitive and simple system that has survived for many years in livestock groups.

The most worthy and the richest took the place of the tselingas. Of course, most of the time it was hereditary. He decided everything. No one was paid for their services. In the spring and usually on the day of Agios Georgios the breeders mixed their herds in larger ones (a kind of cooperative) until the feast of Agios Dimitrios, when the herds returned to the herds (barns) that were usually near the village to give birth and spend the winter.

All the owners of the animals (of the now united herd) gathered and each milked their own animals. In the end, each family took in kind according to the number of live animals they had in the herd and their performance, which was measured by the caliper. And so every family was comfortable in its closed separate economy.

Their huts were built in the same way as the people of Sarakatsani, as G. Lymperopoulos mentions in his book “Mountain and Border people “. Each shepherd family had two huts. One permanent in the winter and a second on the summer pastures. The huts in the winter were round. In the mountains, however, they became larger and rectangular because the summer needs were more. In winter, however, the huts, abandoned, were destroyed by bad weather, but the following year they resumed the erection of the house in a new, better location, while they enlarge the huts to make them comfortable.

Molista’s economy was influenced by economic developments in the kaza (province) of Konitsa. The economic boom in the Karamouratia valley is very likely to have affected the rest of the area. Karamouratia during the years of Ottoman rule was called the area of ​​North Pogoni along with the villages in the valley above Aoos and with center Ostanitsa (today’s Aidonochori). 

In Molista, compared to the other villages of Konitsa, there were more employment opportunities for the residents, who could provide paid services in the operation of the tobacco mill (the tobacco mill was a hydro-powered installation of the pre-industrial era and pulverized tobacco leaves by producing tobacco), in the inns that existed in the area and in the trade fair.

Most of the inhabitants of Molista were farmers and “craftsmen” (builders or carpenters). Successively after their permanent settlement they passed from the livestock stage to the agricultural one, but without completely abandoning the first one. Few were those who systematically engaged in the exploitation of goats by hiring shepherds. The self-sufficiency of their economy resulted in few coins circulating in the market.

The forest supplied them with timber, animal feed, plants and secret herbs. In the locations Kapilio, Paliouria, Sfundami, Lefka, Monastiropoulos, area of ​​Lupotsiani, Fourka and between sunny lands they found small areas where they cultivated their fields. Thus they got wheat, corn, barley, oats, rye, lentils, chickpeas, clover, onions, and potatoes. According to information, sericulture used to flourish. The wine was also a local product and each house produced 700 okes of fine red wine as well as tsipouro. (Oke = measure of weight.)

There were many vineyards in Kapilio, Paliabela, Dragasia, Antziarouchi, Palichimata and elsewhere as well as various categories of grapes that thrived in the area, such as the nutmeg, the debina etc. The many waters in the village helped in the cultivation of vegetables, the nearby river and Sarandaporos supplied them with fish. Also walnuts, cherries, apples and plums flourished in these places. So with their personal work they managed to provide the basics and necessities for their life and in many of their agricultural jobs they managed to give an entertaining character that relieved them from the daily work and the hard reality.

The “Pazaropoulo” was the big annual trade fair that took place every September in Konitsa and gathered people from all the surrounding villages who brought their products for sale: skins, wools bronze, tsarouchia shoes, fabrics from Ioannina, animals from Albania and other areas.

ARCHITECTURAL TRADITION – CRAFTSMEN AND BUILDERS – PROFESSIONS

It is unknown how old is the building tradition. The first report on construction activity and in fact with a large number of builders from Molista is documented by a list of 19 September 1801. In this list among the 789 builders and 1026 skilled workers are registered and 35 craftsmen from Molista. (unissued file of Ali Pasha).

Life in the Mastorochoria of Konitsa was generally difficult and poor. The economic and educational level was low, hard work of men and women, few wealthy inhabitants, solidarity of the families of craftsmen. The profession of builder was not profitable, with the exception of the hewer stone and the master craftsman – the only one who could buy the wheat of the year and the most educated of the craftsmen. Their lives were extremely difficult, especially for the apprentices (diet, sleep, filthiness, illness, lifelong crippling from accidents, lack of care and safety, other vital needs, their frequent negative treatment, their exploitation, especially by dynastic aghas back then).

Usually, in the beginning of spring, 10-20 craftsmen formed groups, the “bouloukia”, and left their village for pre-agreed work. The work of the craftsmen, as a general rule, was done by sharing the profits and calculating the contribution of each one to work, tools and animals and later with a wage. The return of the “bouloukia”, took place in November.

During the winter they were with their families until the following spring when they left again.

The craftsmen were usually active in Zagori. The activity of the famous master craftsmen is proved by testimonies and mainly by a number of inscriptions. The “amiliko” (inn) in Koukouli, the houses of businessmen K. and I. Kokkoris also in Koukouli, the house of the veterinarian Sakellariou in Vitsa and the house of Panonis in Kipoi, are works of craftsmen from Molista. And they are not the only ones.

The descent to Greece of the Molistine craftsmen for the reconstruction of Athens was not the only opportunity for profit in those years. They also travel to mountainous places such as Domnista, Evritania, and Galaxidi. Despite the lack of information, the Molistines certainly expanded their activity to neighboring villages.

This successful activity of the Molista craftsmen in Zagori was a proof of prosperity, and their work was sung by the local folk muse there, praising both the craftsmen of Molista and those from Peklari (Pigi)

In their pre-war travels there were also cases where women from Molista followed and helped their husbands. This is a very interesting and rare case. Of course, it is a fact that the Molista women- like the Sarakatsani women – were famous for the fact that they themselves built the round wooden huts.

Since then, the shift of the inhabitants to the emigration to Romania and the change of the profession has resulted in the gradual reduction of Molista as a center of craftsmen.

Until about 1850 most men worked seasonally as builders while in the ensuing period many emigrated to Romania, Egypt and America. The emigration of people to Romania since the 18th century helped financially not only the immigrants themselves but also their relatives who remained in the village. Many houses were built then in the village with the money sent by the immigrants. Other men from Molista worked in Domnista of Evrytania, Galaxidi, Zagori (Elafotopos, Aristi, Koukouli ) and elsewhere. They also distinguished themselves as carpenters, agogiates, millers, etc.

With the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878) in which Romanians also participated, they had the opportunity to get rich because the passage of Russian troops through Romania left a lot of money in grocery stores and bakeries. Both the Molistines indulged in these two professions, managing to get rich.

Liberation of Molista from the Ottomans

Captain Papanikolaou on February 9, 1913 liberated the village from the Turks by setting up two battalions. The Turks, led by Cavit Pasha and with many forces, machine guns and cannons, attacked in one last attempt to recapture it, but, when they learned about the liberation of Ioannina (21/2/1913), they left not only the village but also Konitsa.

Architecture

The social expression of Molista is reflected in the architectural form of her houses. The stone volumes of the houses are characterized by austerity. Fortress character with thick walls, few openings, heavy woodwork and dark mountain stone are the elements that determine the architectural form of the village. The only decorative element are the wooden jewelry of the windows or the simple stone decorations of the lintels. In general, the houses in Molista are simple and introverted so as not to arouse the envy of passers-by. The yard, usually fenced with dry stone, is the main area of ​​the house for all seasons. It is paved, with flowers and trees and has the necessary spaces around (shed, oven, privy, (toilet located outside) warehouses, kitchen, distillery). The height of the masonry gives the yard a sense of individuality and freedom that the people of the house needed. The simple construction also characterized the interior of the house with the small wooden centerpieces for storing clothes and the fireplace with the elongated sofas (mpasia) were the furniture. The only decorative element was the colored embroidered covers on the sofas. Wood finds its place as a material, always in a dark color, on floors, lintels, stairs, balconies and closets. Individual cases of sashnisia (protruding windows) indicate the tendency of craftsmen to process the simple stone face, enriching it with some additional aesthetic elements and give a picturesque look to the building. The building materials they have – are limited and when given the opportunity they work with stone art making fireplaces, balconies and stairs with wonderful construction perfection.

The bridge in Kouklious

Also known as the bridge of Kryoneri and Vergos. It is located 25 km north of Konitsa to the right of the national road and below the village of Monastiri (former Botsifari) at the site Kouklious, next to the homonymous old inn (later Kotli and Vergos inn). It bridges the Sliouta stream pit or Cortinistα stream that starts from Cortinista lage (today Nikanoras) and is poured into Sarandaporos river. It is a single arch with an opening of 8.30 m. and the height from the riverbed reaches 4.50 m and peaks in the center at 5.20 m. The curved corridor reaches 20 m in length and 2.40 in width with low and sparsely placed arkades (oblong stones).

The builder of the bridge was Fotis Lolos from Vranista (today Trapeza) according to the claims of his descendants but also from the peculiar technique of the specific carpenter who documents it as his own work. It was built in the second half or late (most likely) of the 19th century.

The bridge in Vourgopotamos (Kerasovitiko River)

In the past, the main road from Konitsa to Mastorochoria and Macedonia reached the left bank of the Vourgopotamos and at the point where it met Sarandaporo it branched off following the valleys of the two contracting rivers. One branch, following the left bank of the Vourgopotamos, led without major river barriers to the village of Kerasovo (now Agia Paraskevi) and the “Vergos / Vyrgos” pass above Fourka, and from there it headed towards Macedonia. There was the issue of crossing the Vourgopotamos, which at that point, which was the last part of its riverbed, was very dangerous. Apart from the supra-local importance of a bridge at that point, there was also the need to communicate with the surrounding area. The inhabitants of Ganadio, to which the wider area on both banks belongs, needed it because they had their own large area, with many fields, vineyards, pastures and other facilities and a safe stone bridge in Vourgopotamos facilitated them and they would surely be tormented by the thought and they were working to find a way to build it. And yet, for more than a century, there seemed to be no sign of bridging. And yet, for more than a century, there seemed to be no sign of bridging.

Around 1968, when the new large concrete bridge of the National Road was being built, a small part of the ridge of the old stone bridge was visible, but no one gave an explanation then. Then the bridge was pushed back inside. Neither the old craftsmen nor the kyratzides mentioned such a bridge. There were no reports from foreign travelers or local geographers, nor was there any written report or recollection from earlier narratives. So next – despite the fact that it did not make sense – it has been believed that a bridge was never built there.

During the winter of 2002/3, a large and rapid water descent of Vourgopotamos brought to light the top part of a stone arch, confirming the correctness of the thought, that there must have been a bridge there. This stone arch was captured in detail in the summer of 2003 by Professor Argyris Petronotis and presented in an article in 2004 in the Magazine “εκ Χιονιάδων “, issue 7, p.31.

An extensive text “The large, arched bridge of Vourgopotamos” of Molista written by Thomas V. Ziogas, civil engineer from Drosopigi, Konitsa published in the magazine “τα Καντσιώτικα” , issue 23, p.10, gives information about the bridge. From the studies made the design of the bridge was insufficient and the flow of the river and the carried materials which could not pass through the relatively small arches were not estimated.

According to his assessment, the restoration of the bridge was impossible, so he was left to his fate for as long as he “can endure”, which of course did not take long to happen, because otherwise it is not explained that none of the locals remembers or has mentioned anything about it. The bridge must have existed in 1878 because in written testimonies it is mentioned with the word “big” and this three-arched stone bridge in Vourgopotamos was indeed large, since it was 25.00 m long. The photo is from October 2015 and this photo was a matter of luck. The landmark no longer exists, but the bridge is sure to have existed.

EDUCATION

The educational movement was remarkable for that time .Documents from 1828-1913 about Molista and signed by teachers, priests or ordinary people from Canada, testify that many of the inhabitants were literate. According to tradition, before the founding of the schools, the priests taught the few letters or some other “letter teacher”. In Molista, around 1850, Georgios Tzounis from Staritsani taught, who was a collaborator of Kapodistrias. From handwritten notes in books of the monastery of Molista it seems that from time to time other teachers also taught.

In 1846, Nikolaos Xinos, based in Bucharest, bequeathed to Molista a property he owned there, in order, among other things, to build a school for poor children. The Spyridonian School that was built with this money and the free education was the reason that many Molinists were educated even during the Turkish occupation. After graduating from school, the children went to the High School of Tsotyli or Ioannina. In 1929 the School closed. Also in 1848, Michael Nazis, who also settled in Bucharest, with his will disposed of his property for the establishment of a girls’ school in the village.

 

Clothing – Embroidery

The women in the winter, when they found time from the agricultural work, weaved the clothes on the loom and whatever else was necessary. The main material for the clothes was the denim, a woolen, thick fabric, worked on the loom and the “tzerges” made of sheep or goat wool with which they made the mattresses. The belt (leather or fabric) adorned with small beads, the “patunas” (black woolen socks) the leather tsarouchia with the black tassel

Their clothing was the “peasant clothing ” type (provinces of Kourenta, Pogoni, Souli, Paramythia Zagori, etc.) in contrast to the “urban clothing ” (areas of Ioannina, Zitsa, etc.). This clothing was made of domestic fabrics.

The women of Molista wore the “kalimkeri” (a type of beret) on their head and over a scarf (woolen or cotton), a dress long and above the apron, which was embroidered on the young and simple on the old women, the “patunes” (black woolen socks) the leather tsarouchia with the black tassel and finally the cape made of dimito (dense fabric) with embroidered ornaments that they wore on top, complemented the clothing. Characteristic was the austerity and lack of ornaments such as jewelry, furs.

Men’s clothing was simpler. They wore a white shirt under the dimito vestand on top they wore the “surduko” (jacket made of dimito). For trousers they had white “shalwar”, white woolen socks with “zava” (type of buckle) and for shoes thick tsarouchia with black tassel. The young people wore a skirt, a shirt and a fez with a black tassel. Over time, european clothing prevailed, but the fez remained.

The embroideries that survived are very few and the women hid them and avoided giving information. Molista has been looted many times and does not have to present elaborate embroidery. The difficult weather conditions forced the inhabitants to make mostly woolen fabrics (velenzes, rugs, flokates) which decorated the “basia” (wooden benches glued to the wall). Many times they were decorated with geometric shapes or patterns with branches and flowers

The monastery of Molista

Churches – Monasteries

Agios Nikolaos, the central church, three-aisled basilica, with the iconostasis and the ceiling carved in wood and Agia Paraskevi located in the cemetery of Molista, outside the village and is dedicated to Agia Paraskevi because the locals used to believe that this agia prevents plague epidemics having the tragic precedent of the epidemic that decimated the population and deserted Supostiani.

The monastery of Presentation of Mary (The Monastery of Molista).  After the desolation of the original settlement of Supostiani, in 1672 a monastery was founded in Botsifari (today’s Monastery) to which the icon of Panagia Molista was transferred. It is speculated that the slippery terrain at that point contributed to the landslide, resulting in the abandonment of the original monastery by the monks and the foundation of the new one. According to the priest Georgios Paisios, from a study on a non-walled slab and other findings, the first monastery was built in 1672 and was preserved for about two centuries. Then it was destroyed and in 1819 it was built in its current location and completed in 1892. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary miraculously indicated the location where the monastery was built. In emergencies (drought, diseases) a procession took place in the village of the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.

Until 1940 the monastery was in prosperity and helped poor families of Molista, financially supported unmarried girls and pioneered public works. In the early 20th century it began to decline.

In January 1976, robbers broke into the door and stole the icon of the Virgin Mary, the so-called “Sratiotissa”, along with other relics.

Today, we can see the katholikon, the double bell tower at the entrance, the old stables, the two-storey cells, where monks lived until 1975 and which today serve as hostels for pilgrims, as well as a smaller building called “the Turk’s ledge” and is a benefaction of a Muslim bey.

The katholikon is a single-aisled basilica, with two doors and a gynaikonitis (the introverted women’s wing in the Greek churches). In the main church are preserved two stone manuals of 1831, a wooden iconostasis and rare icons.

The Monastery celebrates on November 21, with a solemn service.

The church of Agios Nikolaos

The Post of Molista

In the past, agogiates (those who transport products with animal ) were used as postmen for postal communication in Molista. A post office started operating in Konitsa around 1877 and in 1881 a telegraph office was established.

The mayors of the three communities of Molista (Supostiani, Messaria, Botsifari) and Pournia ,in 1960, in a letter reported to the Prefecture the existence of the Post of Molista which operated from 1913 for 47 years, served not only the inhabitants of the above villages but also those of Agia Paraskevi and Fourka and until 1958 the inhabitants of Drosopigi, Lagada and Kastaniani.

Two important events that took place that year played an important role in the establishment of the Molista Post Office. The first was the victory of the Greek army against the Turks on February 15 in the area of ​​Molista when the Greek army recaptured Molista repelling the Turkish forces that withdrew with several losses. This victory made Molista famous throughout the Greek territory and in the then Greek Government. The second was the intense pressure exerted by the Molinist prominences of Bucharest, and of the three villages, on the then Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, who paid an official visit to Romania that year and had contacts with prominent expatriate Greeks.

The Post Office from its foundation in 1913 until 1983 was housed in a central building in the square. After the fire of the building it operated in another building until 1998 when it was permanently abolished.

Musical tradition, dances, festivals

Molista as well as the wider area of ​​Konitsa due to its location between Albania and Western Macedonia was a cultural crossroads and received musical influences from both sides. Next is to present a rich music and dance tradition. The main instrument is the clarinet accompanied by the violin, the lute and the tambourine. Molista had and still has some of the best musicians in the area of ​​Konitsa who with their companies and integrated in the local community know the local customs and preferences of the dancers.

From Molista is also the origin of the violinist and clarinetist Filippos Filippidis who was a great exponent of traditional music and “patriarch” of the Filippidis family. He took part in many events, but didn’t make any records. In recent years, he and his son have recorded pieces of traditional music of Konitsa. His sons Nikos and Costas Filippidis continue the musical tradition.

At a time when the villagers lived in isolation, the only way to have fun was through festivals, weddings, the major religious holidays and name-days, Carnival and ziafetia.

Until 1960 the festival was held every year on the day of Agios Dimitrios. However, the emigration of the inhabitants and the abandonment of the village resulted in the cessation of the event. Since 1980, however, the Molistines fraternity has carried the festival every first Saturday after the 15th of August, a time when expatriates visit their place.

The festivals were and are constant and repeated customs in the cycle of life. It used to be an opportunity to rest mentally and physically from the toils of rural life. Apart from entertainment, of course, it was an opportunity to reorganize their social relations and make deals. In addition, it was the best way for young people to communicate in a time of strict morals regarding gender relations.

Communication in the old days between the young, mainly due to the strict manners and customs, was very difficult and the simple looking between the boy and the girl was then considered reprehensible.

The dancers danced in single or double circle and were always accompanied by the instruments of local organ players. In the double circle the women danced inside and the men outside. Every man who led the dance, danced only with his wife, or with a very close relative. In the single circle the men danced in front and the women followed. When she was dancing, a married woman was being held by her husband with a handkerchief, while the unmarried girls were being held by one of their mothers or sisters. They usually danced in families.

The simple and layered dances reflected the strict customs and traditions of Epirus, where, especially to women, expressiveness was not allowed. The rough relief of nature and the strict manners and customs formed in the inhabitants of the village a special psychosynthesis, which was expressed in the simple movement of the dancers. The first form of the women’s palm grip with the hands down expressed the simplicity of the dance, which over time evolved into other forms.

The dance was always accompanied by the instruments because as we mentioned above the village has always had local organ players. The dance repertoire, with the exception of the wedding, was the same on the other dance occasions.

Zafetia were the feasts that took place for the return of an expatriate usually from Romania or Egypt and in which only men participated and expressed the nostalgia of the expatriate who was trying in his short stay in the village to have fun and keep, leaving, the good memories.

Today, although the celebrations have lost their original form and their stable relationship with rural life, they still retain their festive style and offer the same joy of fun and social contact.

Morals and Customs – Traditions

It was a closed social organization with strict manners and customs. There was a social hierarchy with men and the elderly in an advantageous position.. Respect went beyond the meaning of the word. Women, no matter how old they were, had to greet the man even if he was young and if they sat down to stand up. The young men and women exchanged look only at dancing, weddings and festivals.The people of Molista were committed to the traditions and with deep religiosity.

The distant past of life in nature, their strong bond with the earth and their love for animals were the reason for the birth of supernatural stories about them. The dominant zoomorphic ancestors of the area were the snake, the bear and the goat. The serpent, the offspring of the earth, was the reincarnation of the dead. The bear protector of young children and the sick isolated in the mountains. The goat symbol fertile is associated with rain which is the first fertile element of the earth.

There are many customs and traditions associated with the travels of craftsmen. Their departure and return was always accompanied by songs of mourning at the time of farewell while the return was always a feast. Water-related traditions are also tied to the ritual of the craftsmen’s departure, and customs during the construction of houses (slaughter of roosters, tossing of coins).

Sources

Η επαρχία της Κόνιτσας και η Μόλιστα επί τουρκοκρατίας: Χαρίλαου Γκούτου

Η Μόλιστα της Ηπείρου: Ευάγγελου Δημητριάδη

Ορεινοί και Μεθόριοι: Γιάννη Λυμπερόπουλου

ΜΑΣΤΟΡΟΙ ΧΤΙΣΤΕΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΜΑΣΤΟΡΟΧΩΡΙΑ ΚΟΝΙΤΣΑΣ: Αγύρης Πετρονώτης-Βασίλης Παπαγεωργίου

Ιωάννης Λαμπρίδης: Ζαγοριακά

Το Ταχυδρομείο της Μόλιστας:  Δημήτριος Παπαλάμπρος τ. Αν/της Γεν.Δ/ντής ΕΛ-ΤΑ ,Περιοδικό Κόνιτσα τ. 182 

Η ΜΟΥΣΙΚΟΧΟΡΕΥΤΙΚΗ ΠΑΡΑΔΟΣΗ ΣΤΟ ΧΩΡΙΟ ΜΟΛΙΣΤΑ https://www.dancearchive.gr/article.php?id=37

Μοναστήρια της Επαρχίας Κονίτσης  – Πρεσβ. Διονυσίου Δημ. Τάτση +

 ΤΟ ΓΕΦΥΡΙ ΣΤΟΥΣ ΚΟΥΚΛΙΟΥΣ  , ΣΠΥΡΟΣ Ι. ΜΑΝΤΑΣ  ΓΕΦΥΡΟΓΡΑΦΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΠΙΝΔΟΥ ΤΟΜΟΣ Γ΄-ΤΑ «ΗΠΕΙΡΩΤΙΚΑ» ΠΕΤΡΟΓΕΦΥΡΑ Σελ. 138

«Η μεγάλη, τοξωτή γέφυρα Βουργοπόταμου» της Μόλιστας» Θωμάς Β.Ζιώγας , πολιτικός μηχανικός «τα Καντσιώτικα» , τεύχος 23 , σελ.10

Το ξεχωμένο γεφύρι στην κοίτη του Βουρκοπόταμου Μόλιστας» Αργύρης Π.Π. Πετρονώτης , Περιοδικό «εκ Χιονιάδων» , τεύχος 7, σελ.31.

2 comments

    Leave a Reply

      error: Content is protected !!