Karpathos Architecture

Karpathos - Architecture Karpathos - Architecture Karpathos - Architecture Karpathos - Architecture

The local traditional Karpathian architecture lost the battle against money collection from abroad (especially from the USA) and lawless building for the sake of tourism development. The immigrants’ family houses and the hotels built mainly during the 20th century changed the shape of Pigadia, the island’s capital. However, the Karpathian folk house still exists today in its original form.

According to the known local historian and folklorist M.G. Mihailidis-Nouaros (1934), the typical twofold house, which is a combination of a “big” and a “small” house at one side of the courtyard with the “kelli”, i.e. the part of the house where the oven was, attached to it at right angles, is part of the common architectural style. The stable is located under the courtyard. The “big” house is the formal house where celebrations are held, thus it has a corresponding wooden interior comprising the “soufas” (divided in the lower and upper “soufas”), where the family slept, the “mousantra”, a type of sleeping loft right above the “soufas”, the “pagali”, a type of wooden sofa, and the small “pagali”, called “pagalaki”. This house is used only on special occasions. The “small” house (which is a type of outbuilding) is the everyday house where the family lives. It is actually a more simply decorated miniature of the “big” house featuring all of its basic elements, like the “soufas” and the bench, and some additional parts, namely the fireplace and a position reserved for the crock, that is called the “stamnothouka”.

The “big” house – “small” house combination calls for a rather big lot and additional expenses, which is why it was not the most common choice. In most cases, a simpler (and older) type of house was preferred, namely an almost square-shaped house used for both everyday functions and celebrations.

The horseshoe or cylinder-shaped windmills (many of which still exist at the village of Olympos) constitute significant examples of traditional architecture, along with the rural houses, called stables that were built near arable land. This often led to the formation of villages, as is the case of the rural settlement of Avlona that consisted of 300 stables in the past.

Back to Karpathos