Photographer's Note

here more info mansions of Siatista
Arhondiko: a richman's stately house

The architecture knew a special flourish only since the beginnings of the 18th century, when the prerequisites were there for the existence of such edifices. It is then that commerce developed, the inhabitants made money, became intereted in the cultivation of Letters, returned from the foreign lands full of new images, knowledge and the desire for a better life, had an urban consciousness and wished to live more comfortably in their homes and to display their riches.
The returning people of Siatista had their houses (their arhondika) built the way they wanted to and the way the Macedonian and Epirote builder's guilds knew how to. We can see everywhere an influence of foreign elements. These come from instructions the owner gave, which must have been confined to matters of function and decoration (wall-paintings), or from knowledge and habit of the builders, which relate to construction systems and architectural forms.
The wall-paintings were of themes inspired by the tradesman's life abroad, in Europe; towns and ports in the Adriatic Sea, the Black sea and cities on the River Danube were favourite themes, and so were scenes from Greek Mythology. The themes in general were descriptive and didactic.
We are going to briefly describe how an arhontiko of Siatista functions. The entrance is always in the corner of the L of the ground plan and on the south side of the main facade,which is usually orientated SE or SW. Next to it projects the short leg of the L protecting the house-door like a tower. Through this entrance we come into a central court-yard, level with the ground, slab-paned, called in Greek "mesia" or "embati".In this yard are the accesses (the staircases), always distinct, that lead to the mid-storey and the storey.
The central court-yard communicates with the ground-floor spaces, the magazines, the cellars and the "katoi" (literally lower quarters) were there are the barels of wine, and sometimes the grapetreading space.
Around the mid-storey runs an inner balcony looking onto the inner court-yard. Two chambers communicate through this balcony, which are used in winter. One of these is the main room of the mid-storey, the sun-room, or solar, whose name testifies to its origin from the corresponding space in the ancient Greek house, the solarium.
The other staircase leads to the central, spacious hall of the storey whose Greek name is "anoi" (literally upper quarters).Sometimes this hall forms an oriel (Sahnisi), but always in the north. On the storey, to the right and to the left, there are four rooms, two on each side. Between them there is a corridor ending with a lavatory on its SW extremity, an overhang away from the wall.
At a time when great lack of security reigned over the area and when the frequent robber attacks of the Albanian irregulars disseminated fear, the arhondika of Siatista,which were all built in the 18th century, offered to their inhabitants all the necessary together with all the comfort they could wish for in a life hence dedicated to the enjoyment of wealth that had been earned during interminable years of work abroad, in Austro-Hungaria or in Venice.

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Additional Photos by Georgios Topas (TopGeo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4033 W: 93 N: 8299] (38220)
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