Author Topic: Quote from "Ottoman Whispers in a Secret Corner of Greece"  (Read 6423 times)

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Offline Тоска

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"... A Dili Dili bartender, Dimitris Mutafidis, who doubled as the cute drummer of a local rock band, handed a bottle of Vergina, a fruity Thracian beer, to one of the regulars, the folk-jazz fusion composer and double-bassist Vangelis Kontopoulos. “I can’t believe you used to live in Athens,” Mr. Mutafidis told him. “I know,” said Mr. Kontopoulos, who relocated to Xanthi with his young family several years ago and is now deeply in love with the city. “Was I crazy?”

One of their friends, a young artist named Martha Apostolidou, had to laugh. She grew up in Xanthi and remembered when few wanted to visit, let alone relocate there. “And now, every year, I meet someone new — from Holland, France, Germany, Australia, America,” she said.
She encourages visitors to explore the rest of the Xanthi prefecture, especially the long isolated Pomakochoria (Pomak villages) deep in the southern Rhodope Mountains. Border disputes with Bulgaria in its Communist era estranged the villages, which are built into some of the most stunning mountainous land in Greece, from the rest of the country until the mid-1990s. That’s when the Greek government removed a cold war-era military barrier, called a barra, blocking the only road to the villages. To pass the barra, the Pomaks had been required to show Greek soldiers a special identity card. The Pomaks, Muslim Slavs who speak a language called Pomakci, were victims of politics; Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria all claimed the people as their own. Now the Pomaks are cautiously integrating into Greek society, but their villages are still desperately poor..."


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