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Culture Traditional forms of Art - Professions made of stone Epirus Krapsi

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The works they build


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Throughout the centuries the Ipirite masons have built great works. Manors and simple humble homes, churches large and small with towering steeples, monasteries, schools, mills, olive presses, water presses, inns, fountains and others.
Bridges with one arch or many arches, smaller or larger, built primarily in the 18th and 19th century, these works of renowned Ipirite masons are magnificent architectural monuments, examples of a rich traditional heritage in the area of the art of stonework. Perfect construction, symmetrical, harmoniously tied to the environment, stable and standing the test of time and the difficult weather conditions.
Even when the builders increased in numbers, they still knew their craft perfectly, because they learned the work from a young age and from the beginning. The promotion to each grade was gradual and under the watchful eye of the head mason. Aside from this, because they worked in pairs, the outside man (the best) had to care how the inside man was building, because they both built the wall together.
The skill of the mason was also tested in the construction and more in taller houses. Even the simplest wall needed skill in order to be built well, especially in the junction of the inner and outer stones: the “batikes” stones that reach quite deeply inside the wall cover each other in the successive layers, as if forming a pillar, a support. These “binding” pillars, in a job well done, were every 1 m. Other difficult points were the “columns” (the narrow pillars between the windows), when the wall was “verga” (namely it was not tied with others vertical to it), the last “dema” or “kourso”, namely the high point of the wall (because the stones were lifted by hand one by one by the masons on the same ladder), the defining of the angle of the roof for masons who were illiterate and the “tsivikoma” on the tiling of the roof. Many illiterate masons were unable to calculate the angle of the roof, while for the head mason the “tsati” was easy work.
Many of the houses, according to the desire of the owner, were decorated with various stone carvings. They are found on the south wall, on the “façade”, right and left of the arched lintel of the front door. Their purpose was not only to decorate the home or to accentuate a certain element, but another, primarily symbolic. Relief forms of oval male faces, angels with open wings, crosses, birds with open wings. The face is the guardian angel of the home. The cross is clearly a symbolic element, to ward off evil and protect. The bird is the dove, a symbol of good spirit, a symbol of peace.
Between the villages Krapsi and Anatoliki, there is another true masterpiece of folk architecture, the deserted bridge of “Papastathis”. It was built in 1746; its length is more than 85 m. and is comprised of four well-built arches. Its large arch, which today is outside the flow of the river, has a span of 23.7 m. and a height of 8.7 m., while the other three have spans of 12 m., 10 m. and 4.6 m. and respective heights of 4.8 m., 5.6 m. and 2.4 m. The deck, which follows the line of the arches; has a width of 2.7 m., is covered with cobbled stones and has a low protective parapet made of vertical slabs.