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Mountain Village in Crete


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Axos
is a small mountain village at the northern Ida massif.
 
photo It owes it's popularity mainly to the work of the Patelaros family.

Vangelis Patelaros produces the classic goods such as olive oil, wine, vinegar, Tsikoudia, and others at high purity and strictly following the methods passed on to him while Athina, his wife, is famous across the borders of Crete for her work on the loom.

Athina Patelarou did not learn weaving from any school but made the traditional methods and patterns her own and developed them on.
 
Numerous awards and honorary diplomas bear witness of the perfection which she gained for her manufactural art during decades.

Besides producing the agricultural goods, Vangelis is also responsible for the sales affairs and one can feel immediately that this is his favorite subject.

He talks in six or seven languages, preferably all of them simultaneously, when serving cheese, raisin, water melon, and grapes to his customers and demonstrating that his Tsikoudia (also called "Raki" as this is easier to pronounce) really burns.
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photo The familiy tradition goes back to Athanasios Patelaros who was an orthodox bishop on the Black Sea which belonged to Greece before the Turkish immigration.

So the family emigrated from there to Crete first during the supersession by the Turkish conquerers. Progenitor Athanasios was slayed short before by pagans, and therefore sanctificated as a martyr.

It is not sure whether he really looked like shown in this icon but that does not matter at all. The family is at least as old as the hills.
 
Meanwhile, Athina and Vangelis also are over seventy years old and unbend themselves a little bit.

Vangelis handed down to his sons the methods of producing high-class victuals who will continue producing goods without any chemicals.

Out of regard for her back, Athina stopped weaving - but very reluctant as in Axos and some neighbouring villages certain families make profit from Athina's reputation by offering cheap carpets from the Far East as original Axos products.
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photo Instead of weaving, Athina recovered her crocheting knowledge and now makes lace clothlets for any purpose.

She adapts to the traditional patterns and methods new ones from magazines which old friends from abroad brought along and already created her own style again.

Of course, one has to take care where to buy these goods, too. At Athina's, there are definitely no machine crochet products.



Vangelis Patelaros died from a long disease on New Year's Eve of 2000.

Athina Patelarou continues running the small shop at Axos' lower village square alone.

She says that she would feel useless if she would move to her children's house in Iraklion.

Who ever happened to meet Vangelis will not forget him.
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photo Athina Patelarou fell sick in springtime of 2003 and died on the 22nd of September. In the hearts of all the friends she however lives on.

Vangelis and Athina rest on the small village cemetery of Axos.

Inside the village turn in direction of Zoniana, park the car and walk uphill to Ancient Axos. Behind the cemetery gate descend the wide stairs leftward and then more narrow ones to the right, then turn right again: Photos of both of them are placed on the grave.
 
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Text by Ingo H. Dietrich
Photos family-owned and by Hermann Einemann and Ingo H. Dietrich


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