The architectural style of Kozani's urban residences reached its full expression
around the middle of the 18th century, a time when the town's merchants and owners
of small factories were acquiring considerable financial power and their way of
life became more urbanized, influenced by trends from central Europe.
On the ground floor around the spacious flagstone courtyard, were arranged the 'aniliako' (the sunny, winter sitting room), the cellar, the storeroom, as well as the 'kafe-ondas' and the 'mousafir-ondas' (where guests were welcomed).
The wooden staircase led to the 'hayiati' on the upper floor which closed with a trapdoor. On two sides of the raised 'doxatos' there were summer sitting rooms, a larder and the 'kalokairinos ondas' or summer formal area, which formed a single space with the 'doxatos' and the 'hayiati'. Usually the utility rooms (the lavatory, the well, and the storerooms), were found in the courtyard, but they could also have been located in the vaulted basement.
In times of danger the inhabitants used to escape from a passage located in the small courtyard to the rear of the house, which communicated with the courtyards of neighbors and linked up with the town's road network.
The sumptuously decorated mansions of Kozani were enclosed by stone walls punctuated with a few barred openings on the outer sides, while in the upper floor, the enclosed balconies and the covered porches usually looked onto the inner courtyard.
Kozani's surviving mansions
Only three of the magnificent mansions built by the prosperous 18th century merchants of Kozani are still standing today. Typical examples of both the architecture of the times and the tendency towards ornately carved woodwork and decorative painting, the mansions of Georgos Lassanis (second half of the 18th century), Grigorios Vourkas (1748) and Vourkas-Katsikas (1762) represent the fashion of the second half of the 18th century.
The mansions that have perished
Most of the mansions that were built in 18th century Kozani have been destroyed. The Kozani Folk Art Museum contains parts of some woodcarvings from the Harisis Trantas mansion (late 17th century), which are closely related stylistically to the woodcarvings in the church of Ayios Nikolaos and of the 'kalos ondas' of the Tziminakis mansion (late 18th century), which have been removed to the Benaki Museum in Athens (gift of E. Stathatou). The Kozani Folk Art Museum has also acquired the 'bas-ondas' of the mansion belonging to G. Sakellariou (late 17th century) with its ornate painted decoration.
By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.
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