The Sarakatsani

Suddenly I hear a loud noise and songs and then I see them in a row going out through the woods. The point where they come out is green, full of tall ferns and dense firs. I'm lucky, it's worth it, the bad weather also helps.
Photography / Text: Michael Pappas

It is early in the morning and I am visiting Kalambaka with some friends. We are resting at a beautiful café overlooking the rocks of Meteora.

We have come to see this unique phenomenon, the monasteries hanging on some of these rocks, which since 1988 have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Just outside the cafe stops a bus. A woman comes out in traditional costume. She wants to buy some coffee. I immediately approach her and ask her about the outfit. It is a Sarakatsanaios outfit and she is going to a place 40 km away called Pertouli where they have the Pan-Hellenic Sarakatsana Concentration.

I ask my company to change destination and instead of going to Meteora to go 40 km to see this custom.

I'm in my car on my own, no one followed.

I pass through a beautiful location. Everything is green and on my right, I see a river. After about an hour drive I reach Pertouli.

I'm on a hill with a lot of cars and vendors. Good opportunity to ask a native who sells honey for information. He tells me exactly where the custom begins. He does not let me go, he tries to sell me honey by telling me that I have not eaten something like that again.

I am one of the first to reach the place where the event takes place. Some people will are hiking and others are coming on their horses loaded through the forest, an hour's drive.

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

I want to follow them but I have my car. Then how do I get to get it? Darkness has fallen too. I do not know anyone here to tell him to take me with them.

I decide to see and photograph the start of this journey and take my car to wait for them on the other side of the forest where they will come out.

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

I ask a lot of locals, and they do not know where the custom ends. Suddenly I hear a loud noise and songs and then I see them in a row going out through the woods. The point where they come out is green, full of tall ferns and dense firs. I'm lucky, it's worth it, the bad weather also helps.

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

We are heading to the place where the dances will take place. People have come from all over Greece. They all start dancing. This will hold for a long time but my phone battery has almost died. I must slowly return to Kalambaka where my friends are waiting for me.

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas

I will definitely come back to live all this again. I would like to visit a few days ahead to get to know this beautiful place and try hiking in the forest with the participants.

The Sarakatsani - Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
The Sarakatsani
Greece. Thessaly. Trikala. © Michael Pappas
#sarakatsani #dance #forest #hiking #rocks #lot #honey #custom #outfit #car #friends #lucky #monastery #meteora #traditional #green #trees #vendors #kalambaka #unesco #cafe #pertouli

Location

The Sarakatsani

Pertouli
Trikala, Thessaly, Greece

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