June 14, 2014

1099 GREECE (Crete) - Men in a cafeneon

Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits, with roots in its long history, that spans thousands of years. Even if it is one of the few Greek islands that can support itself independently without a tourism industry, its economy relies however on services and tourism. European Union integration and modernisation has had a huge impact on local culture and attitudes, so the Crete of today is very different from the Crete 20 years ago, and further is a contrast between town and village life.

Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs, and men often don elements of traditional dress in everyday life: knee-high black riding boots (stivania), vráka breeches tucked into the boots at the knee, black shirt and black headdress consisting of a fishnet-weave kerchief worn wrapped around the head or draped on the shoulders (the sariki). Men often grow large mustaches as a mark of masculinity. Many villages still retain the 'old ' way of life - men in the cafeneons/tavernas sipping Greek coffee and raki while women gather outside their homes, crocheting and gossiping together. These are mostly older people, the younger generations having moved out of villages to the more 'sophisticated' town life.

The postcard was send from Rethymno. I don't know if the picture was taken in this city, but I know that the author is George Meis, a well known greek photographer, who studied photography and cinema in Paris. After that, for five years he was occupied with fashion photography, creating Meis Studio. He then became involved with publishing and presenting a series of postcards featuring tourism promotion. His themes are taken from Greek islands and Continental Greece and have created international interest. His panoramic photos, which are a result of a lifetime of research, are considered Avant -Garde, and his album, Land of Crete, has met great success. It is the first panoramic album published in Greece and one of the first in the world.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series The 100th Anniversary of the First Ascent of Mount Olympus, about which I wrote here.

Cretan Culture and People - Living in Crete 
Meis Studio - the official website

sender: Marius Vasiliu
sent from Rethymno (Crete / Greece), on 25.05.2014
photo: George Meis

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