Fassolas – The old commercial neighbourhood
Fasolas is an old neighborhood in the settlement of Rachidi.
The neighborhood of Fasola, before the construction of the Provincial Road Chora – Apeiranthos, was the commercial and artisan center of the Village, where minute professional venues operated, like grocery stores, fabric and household linen shops, a bakery shop, a tailor shop, a shoemaker’s shop, a smith shop, olive oil mills, “rakintzo”, “kafeneia” (cafeterias), ea.
The “neighborhood of the professionals” of Fasola, gives a very good picture of how the economy of an island village was organized and operated in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, but also of the human scale dimensions that characterized the places of work, as well as the dwellings.
When the provincial road was constructed, almost all the shops moved to the “Amaxotos” (car road).
It is very fortunate that most of the old shops remained almost intact, and today they are restored, creating a superb space that refers directly to the 19th century.
The neighborhood of Fasola took its name from the homonymous neighborhood of the village Kampos of the island Chios, from where came to Filoti a young refugee named Antonis Pagidas.
As is known, the Greek Fleet rescued from the Turkish yataghans, and distributed in the Greek islands of the Archipelagos, about half of the inhabitants of the tormented island who were rescued from the Massacre.
The other half were sold in the slave markets of the East.
It is estimated that about 30,000 Chiotes (inhabitants of Chios Island) were slaughtered or became refugees.
Thus, some big communities of Chiotes were created in many islands of the Aegean Sea, especially in Syros and in Tinos.
Syros owes a great deal of its development, especially in the maritime field, to Chiotes refugees.
“Loukis Laras” by Dimitris Vikelas, one of the co-founders of the modern Olympic Games, is a literary imprint of the influence that the Chiotes refugees exerted on the societies in which they were integrated.
The story of small Antoni is a good example of a collateral effect that is created by the interaction of the big historical events with the fate of the simple people who experience their consequences.
Antonis Pagidas arrived at Naxos in 1822, twelve years old, as a refugee, after the big destruction of his much-tormented island.
The young refugee was an orphan, having seen all the members of his family been killed in a barbarous way in front of his eyes.
Scenes like these that young Antonis witnessed, were those that triggered the mobilization of the public opinion of Europe for the rights of the Hellenes (Greeks) who were fighting for their freedom, and inspired the great painter Eugene Delacroix to create his painting “The Massacre of Chios.”
A copy of the painting has been hung in the renovated Smithy of the neighborhood of Fasola.
Antonis Pagidas married a Filotitissa (a woman from Filoti) with whom they gave birth to nine children, and was fortunate –in the difficult conditions of the 19th century, when the contact even among the villages of Naxos was limited– to see two of their nine children obtain university diplomas and distinguish themselves in their fields.
Specifically, Stefanos (Stephan) and Giorgos (George), after finishing the High-School of Syros, studied at the Theological and Philosophical School of the University of Athens, respectively, while Giorgos continued for graduate studies in the University of Strasbourg, where he got his doctorate degree in Archaeology.
Stefanos Pagidas, with the clerical name Neofytos, being Archbishop of the Greek Community in Petroupoli (Saint Petersburg) of Russia, was elected as the metropolitan bishop of Sparti (Sparta), but did not accept the office, in order to be able to complete the writing of the History of the Russian Church.
To those two prominent Filotites Giannis Psycharis is referring in his book titled “At the Shade of the Plane Tree”.
The spiritual influence of the “Two Men of Wisdom from Filoti”, as Antonis Katsouros (see his homonymous book published in 1960) calls the two brothers, on their fellow villagers, was great, while their descendants continue –even in our times—to boast that they «are of descent from the Pagides (plural of Pagidas) families”.
In Fasola there have been preserved and are visitable:
a. The Old Smithy
The smithy of “Giorgos d’ Antonis” (George son of Antonis), as the three most recent generations of Filotites call it, was founded by the great grandfather of “Giorgos”, Antonis Pagidas (the refugee youngster).
He learned smithcraft in the place where God Hephaistos (Hephaestus) had done, as –according to the myth— teacher of God Hephaistos was the Naxiotis Kedalion (or Cedalion).
This smith shop nourished –up to 1983 included—the four generations of the family, supplying with their tools the craftsmen of almost all professions, but also with a big portion of household equipment, not only of the Filoti residents, but also of the neighboring islands. A proof of that is the “tefteri” (notebook) with all the “veresedia” (sales on credit) of the next- to last owner of “Giorgos t’ Antoni”.
From the nine children of the family, the relay baton of the professional tradition was received originally by Dimitris (Dimitrakis t’ Antoni), grandfather of “Giorgos t’ Antoni”.
b. The old carpenter shop
c. The tailor Shop
d. The barber shop
e. The grocery store
The “Grocery Store of Smili” (“to bakaliko tou Smili”) has been rearranged so that it can operate at the same as a museum, where product packaging of past decades, but also traditional products are on exhibition, like sweets, children’s food, cooking ingredients, staples, personal and general cleaning products, school items, e.a..
Amongst them one can see the first Greek athletic shoes (“ELVIELA”, “ALYSIDA”, “KAISARI”), the pharmaceutical products “CHROPEI”, the first “CHLORINI” (bleach), “pytia” (rennet) “VLACHAS” for making cheese, the stand with the biscuits “PAPADOPOYLOY”, packaging of Naxian cottage industries (marmalades “AFON LIANOPOULOU” [shortcut for “ADELHON”, meaning “BROTHERS”, soaps “CHARILAOS KANELLOPOULOS”, wooden boxes for “GALA VLACHAS” (meaning “MILK OF THE SHEPHERD GIRL”), and many more.
Special among the exhibited items is the “Nobel Prize soap” (!) of the family business of Odysseas Elytis (ALEPOUDELIS)
f. Workshop of Traditional Instruments and of Small Artifacts
In a small distance and above Fasola is situated the small, but rich in traditional artifact products Workshop of Nikos Moustakis.
In the Workshop one can admire and buy handmade artifacts, like “tsambounes” (traditional musical wind instrument), “toumbakia” (traditional percussion instrument), bone cutlery, bells and miniature artifacts using as raw material animal bones and skins.