Legacy of a small town

A small wooden chest containing photographs from his homeland was the most precious item inherited by natural history professor and writer Petros Frangoulis from his grandfather, Theofanis Frangoulis, a former headmaster at Zagora. This family treasure, which the elder man had protected as he would a precious jewel for years, cherishing it as a consolation against nostalgia, has now been put on display by the professor in order to shed light on the history of his small community. In order to add to the material that was bequeathed to him, Frangoulis went from door to door around the houses of Zagora, taking family portraits down from walls in order to compile the collection that forms a portrait of Zagora culture from 1850-1950. Seven hundred black-and-white photographs comprise this archive and they tell the story of an historical region of Greece, Zagora, with special emphasis on Skamneli, the last surviving community of the mountain region. The publication of an album titled «Zagoriseion Politiea» was the first step in preserving the archive. Now it is accompanied by an exhibition of the photographs contained in the album as well as other unpublished material held at the Thessaloniki Municipality History Center until February 6. «I am in humble gratitude to all those people who took the portraits of their ancestors off their walls and entrusted me with them so I could capture the past, show it to the younger generation and remind the older one, those who are left,» notes the collector, who is looking to establish a small museum in Skamneli. The exhibition is dominated by the important figures of the time – such as the Dukakis family, local doctors and teachers – and families that emigrated from Skamneli to Cairo, Istanbul or Bucharest. There are also the people of Skamneli, posing in studios, in front of churches and stone houses, as well as historical photos from the resistance, pastoral scenes of daily life and images of the traditional local architecture.