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The one and only Folklore Museum of Xanthe
First time in my life I visit such an interesting Folklore Museum. Folklore museums usually make me yawn. How many traditional costumes, wooden tools and toys, embroidery and old dolls to like and enjoy? They all look the same, without a spark, without a story to tell.
This perspective changed radically after our visit at the Folklore Museum of Xanthe. This is not an ordinary, simple museum. This is a gem of architecture, decoration and style, a place that takes you back to the city's history without the need to explain much. We only needed a few information from Paschalis to begin a fantastic journey through time and space.
Before passing the heavy wooden doors of the museum the building looked stunning. The richest tobacco merchant, Mr. Kougioumtzoglou, built a double house. Two identical houses in one, together and separately, an offer to his children, that lived there for many years.
We see handcrafted floors and hand painted walls as we move to the 13 different rooms of the house. The glorious history that shaped the city is revealed step by step. The lower floor is the living room. There the tobacco trader talks-business, smoking a cigar. The agreement must be very important. Just next door, the hostess of the house is staring indifferently at her son as he learns the piano next to his teacher. C, E, G sharp. The woven cloths are in order, and the steaming teapots smell of English tea.
In the basement I hear the servants preparing the food, the pots hit and the smell of a freshly baked pie tickles my nose. The staircase leads to the basement and suddenly I can see the cook stiring in a saucepan and a young girl preparing the cake of the day. Some men talk in the next room and say something about next day and then about the greengrocer who cheated them while weighting the flour.
Shortly afterwards the guests on the ground floor leave from the right entrance and the tobacco trade, his wife and the child go to the second floor. What a beautiful little room the child has, how many dolls on the shelves and how many books and little pencils! The woman enters the bedroom and gets her Parisian dress off here to wear her sleeping lingery her husband brought from Europe. Her girlfriends were so jealous when she bought it. The tobacco merchant enters the office upstairs to check on the lettersthat arrived just today from Russia. They ask for another tone of the famous tobacco of Xanthe.
In the main hall I watch their moves with bated breath and with the corner of my eye i observe the ceiling paintings with ornate designs of renaissance style. After a while the woman goes down in quick steps, opens the back door to the yard and get lost in the women's hammam. Vapours blur my eyes, I descend the stairs slowly to avoid squeak and I arrive at reception to tell Paschalis, the manager of the Folklore museum, what i had just experienced.
"Many stories comes with this dual home", he anwers smiling. You just saw one of them!
About the Author
Hey i am Athena and this is my slogan “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag. I am the creator of Alternatrips.gr, a Greece Travel Guide made by locals. Together with nearly 100 local-ambassadors we are trying to make up a guide with the best places you can visit in Greece. Follow us and enjoy!