Painted Structures

The Northern Greek town of Kastoria lies on a promontory jutting into Lake Orestiada surrounded by mountains. In the 16th century it became a wealthy fur producing centre when Kastorian furriers began trading throughout Europe as well as producing furs for officials of the Ottoman Empire. During these early years (16th to 17th centuries), numerous mansions were constructed, including the Nerandzis-Aïvazis house that is still standing in the old neighbourhood of the town. The house is now the local Folklore Museum and has some of the most spectacular painted wooden decorative interiors, virtually untouched since the 18th century. The decorations are built into structural elements – walls, ceilings, doors, cupboards…

The wall frieze around the saloni (main living room) depicts an idealised town with structures (houses and churches) with a painted imitation of a moulded architectural decoration below.

The structure of the wooden ceiling of the same room is made up of many different painted geometric pieces.

A detail of a cupboard in another room delineates its structural elements.

The valance over the door to this room changes the door’s structure.

A detail of a panel in yet another room highlights this cupboard door’s individual parts.

Structure: The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge



    • I was astonished when we toured the house. In one room it felt like you were surrounded by calico with all the little painted flowers covering nearly every surface. Here in Northern Greece you tend to get more wooden construction – a bit of a change from the plastered stone (and cement) structures of the South.


    • Down near the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds (which is now open) is a fantastic little museum of folk musical instruments (I blogged about it earlier – look on my Photo Album page) and there is the Benaki Islamic Museum over by the Keramikos which has some interesting displays. And speaking of museums, there is an exhibition highlighting the friendship between the Greek artist Nicolas Ghika, the British artist John Craxton and writer Patrick Leigh-Fermor at the main Benaki, but it is finishing on Sunday (10 Sept). It is worth seeing – as well as the rest of the Benaki. Enjoy Athens!

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