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An article by Dita Kuģeniece, EVS volunteer

During the last five months, five young and enthusiastic people from Prespa, Florina, Kastoria and Drama, joined the team of the organisation Cultural Traingle of Prespes in order to participate in the project with the title „Active Culture in Prespes” . 

 

The aims of this project was to hire currently unemployed people and to collect and promote data on folklore artefacts from Prespa. The team visited five different villages where small collections are gathered: the folklore collection in Vatochori, the house of Captain Kotta, the fossil museum in Vrondero, the collection in Karyes and a private collection in Platy.

 

The artefacts of these collections were photographed, documented and small videos will be uploaded on the website of CTP and the municipality.

The Prespa region is located in the northwest at the borders with Albania and FYR Macedonia. It’s a rural, isolated area with people mainly working in agriculture with less oportunities than in other parts of Greece.

Prespes suffered from wars and struggles between different ruling powers but the most damaging consequences came after the Greek Civil War [1946-1949], when the biggest part of the population left the area.

According to the situation we experienced during the realization of the project we can say that the region of Prespa has a different pace of development regarding social and cultural issues. Observing the household artefacts and accessories which have been used in the region and comparing them, for instance, with tools found in central Greece or Thessaloniki which were important places for exchanging and trading, we can  see the difference quite easily.

Unfortunately Prespa is having difficulties, even in preserving its history. When we arrived to various buildings that host the collection or places where the artefacts were stored, we observed a sad scenery: rooms or buildings are abandoned, lacking of a proper heating system, condemning many of the tools to ruination.

At least for now a first step has been taken. At least we could document part of history and the creation of some small videos from the collected material with educational elements about different profesions of the 20th century will promite better the crafts of the region. Videos will soon be published on CTP’s and the municipality’s website and as well used for some educational activities in the future.

 

We hope that this project will leave a mark, not only in the level of archives but will also raise awareness of the importance of the proper conservation and cultural heritage in general.

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