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Skyriot Houses

And a curious passion for plates

Interior of a house on Skyros

Even the houses on Skyros are different. Few traditional houses in Greece combine so much function and beauty in the small spaces dictated by the necessity of living crammed together on the slope, within easy distance of the Kástro should a pirate sail appear on the horizon. Because most of the older houses back into the steep hill and have shared walls, the xóporto, an outer half-door flap, was developed to allow light and air to enter while retaining privacy.

The central living area is called the alóni, a Greek word that recalls the circular disc of the sun, since the walls and possessions on display are seen ‘all around’. Focus, however, naturally fell on the chubby, conical fireplace, or f’gou, with two little ledges for children to sit on in the winter. Some f’gous have a pair of breasts in bas-relief to symbolize motherhood. An embroidered cloth over the upper mouth of the hearth protected the room from smoke, while shelves across the front of the f’gou displayed rows of colourful plates and jugs.

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Sidelights and Myths

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Skyros shipping