1895 was the year when the building of the Canava ended. Today in the village of Pyrgos we find the “Santorini of the past” Cultural Village. SANTA IRINI A.E is a cooperation which has undertaken the project.
Many years now that the Santorinian Giannis Drosos-Chrysos living the present evolution of life on the island of Santorini and reminiscing his childhood, thought of offering current generations the images of the past that he and his contemporaries had experienced.
He thought that we need an appropriate place to present the various, historical objects, tools, furniture and photos. The most appropriate place found was his father’s kanava dated back to 1895. That’s why the Cultural Village “Santorini of the past” was created in Pyrgos, Santorini.
In 10 years time he managed to gather traditional tools, valuable objects, as well as antigun furniture. He believes that the younger generation needs to learn and be proud of their past and roots. Tradition is vital in Greek life, especially in islands and villages. They give us a sense of who we are. The best way to realize this is to visit the exhibitions of the Cultural Village “Santorini of the past”.
The old mansions of Santorini bore absolutely no resemblance to the peasant houses. They were big, built of expensive materials, rich inside and out; they had an upper storey. The kanaves (plural of kanavas), the stables and the storerooms were located on the ground floor, while the lord’s house was on the upper floor, with an imposing staircase leading to it. The mansions had a second entrance, a door made of glass, so as to check the temperature, the wind, the dust and the visitors.
The entrance led to the drawing room, a large, well-lit reception room with beautiful settees and above them there were the pantes, embroidered needlecraft, the handiwork of the women of the household, which decorated the walls. The walls of the house were also decorated with paintings which the lord had brought with him from his travels. Visits before the evening meals were called vegeres.
A necessary accessory for the lady of the house was an iron SINGER sewing machine in a niche somewhere where she could do her sewing and embroidery.
After the drawing room, a long corridor led to the bedrooms. Of course, the special one was the master bedroom (belonging to the lord and his lady). The bed was the outstanding feature of the bedroom. It was relatively high and there were two steps to help one reach the bed which had four posts where the tsimbiniki (a mosquito net made of gauze, covering the entire bed) was attached.
One of Santorini’s main products was the tomato. The tomato was brought to the island by the Italians when the Venetians occupied it. The cultivation of the tomato begins in February and its harvest takes place in June. The Santorini tomato is anhydrous and for this reason it is especially tasty, producing twice the amount of tomato paste of any other variety. That is, approximately four kilos of fresh tomatoes produce about one kilo of tomato paste.
Donkeys, with the tomatoes loaded in large baskets, used to transport the tomatoes from the field to the processing plants, where they were weighed on a large weighing machine.
Tomato processing was a form of cottage industry for the Santorinians.
In those days (around 1950), the tomato pulp produced in Santorini accounted for 1/3 of the tomato pulp produced in Greece. On the island there used to be 9 tomato pulp processing plants that worked about two months a year. Nowadays, there is only one, belonging to the Santo Wines in Pyrgos, which processes the small production that exists on the island today.
Here you have the opportunity to get to know the traditional Santorinian fisherman. He always wore a sash at his waist and a straw hat on his head regardless of the season. During the summer he was barefoot while in the wintertime he wore sandals. He always carried his palantza, that is to say, his balance scales in his hand. He would go around all the villages of Santorini with his donkey and advertise his goods.
As all the inhabitants of the islands of the Aegean, so, too, the Santorinians are a happy people who love merrymaking. Thus another professional category came into being, that of the musicians (called violitzides). There were violin and lute (laouto) players in every village and these participated in every happy occasion, be that a wedding, a baptism, a name day or a feast. The musicians played and sang island songs.
The Santorinian farmhouse was simple and consisted of a large room which was a place for work and gathering, with the basic furniture necessary to meet the needs of the farm family and furnished with the equipment related to the family’s farm activities. There was a bedroom at the back, known as the sotokamara, meaning small room.
A wooden storage box was necessary equipment; this was divided into two parts. The one was for storing the barley bread which the farmwoman had made and which could be kept for up to six months and the other part was for storing the rest of the foodstuffs.
In this space there was also the wooden hand mill which was used to process peas after threshing and winnowing in order to transform them into the renowned Santorinian product, fava. The iron scale was on the wooden storage box. The farmers sold enough fava to be able to cover the family’s expenses. There was also a large platform scale used to weigh peas for those who wanted large quantities which had not been ground.
The crushing of the grapes, which lasts 3 to 4 days, would begin after the harvest. The donkey would carry the grape filled baskets to the yard outside the kanava. The crushers would place the grapes in a section of the grape crushing area (patitiri) and would begin to crush the grapes with their feet. The must would flow from the patitiri to the lino from where it was transferred to the afores, the large wooden barrels. There the must would ferment and become wine.
The crushed grapes were thrown into the other corner of the grape-crushing area so that they would be crushed again and produce as much must as possible. However, the grapes still retained a quantity of juice which could be extracted. Thus came the turn of the wooden wine press you see before you. The crushing of the grapes was a time of festivity. Food would be cooked over the fire from the morning hours. The musicians would sing and play island songs on the violin and lute. The crushers would sing the tune of the vedema along with them.
WOODEN WINE PRESS
It is said that the wooden wine press was brought to Santorini by French monks in 1650. It is made up of a wooden base called kantaria and has two sockets on the sides. Two Π shaped criss-crossed frames were placed on this base and formed a mould. This was filled with crushed grapes, the marc, and a crusher would get into the press and crush them with his feet as hard as he could so that they would all become one.
MARC BRANDY (TSIKOUDIA or RAKI)
After all the juice is removed from the grapes by crushing and pressing, what remains is the marc. This was placed in the lino (see Grape-crushing area), a round pit in the ground with a diameter of approximately 2 m. and a depth of 2.5 m.
The marc was covered so as to be air tight and was left for at least 40 days to ferment. Afterwards two basketfuls of the marc and two large cans of water were placed in a large bronze cauldron The marc brandy (also known as tsikoudia or raki) was now ready; however, not everyone could make tsikoudia. A special permit from the government, renewed every year, was necessary. A government official would seal the cauldron and it remained sealed throughout the year except for two days. In that minimal amount of time raki production was permitted and this took place without a break.
CULTURAL VILLAGE “SANTORINI OF THE PAST”
Visiting hours: 11:00-16:00 & 18:00 to 21:00
Tel.: +30 22860 31101