Saturday, 29 June 2013

Doors and windows (Πορτοπαράθυρα)

 Despite Greece's modernisation over the years, the doors and windows of old houses, particularly those at street level in the older parts of town, exhibit the lack of privacy that cannot be avoided in urban living. The classic style of house in the old town is made up of one door and one window on the ground floor, with a balcony for the top floor. These openings often compose the only sources of light for these houses, as many of them are terraced properties, standing side by side with others, often with their back to a windowless wall.

Graffiti is an unavoidable curse on these houses. It seems that you must be on your guard 110% of the time to ensure that none gets to you, otherwise you need to fill up all the empty space with so much junk that there is not enough space for even the graffiti artist to stand up while performing his craft. Another undesirable solution is to allow the crumbled walls to remain so, as a deterrent. It seems that the middle solution is to allow a little scrawl on your wall, as long as it is not too offending, so thate there is less space for the next artisan to come along and place his logotype on your wall. Either way, a little leniency is a pre-requisite for your peace of mind.

Greek doors and windows are still an intriguing sight for many of our tourists. As I pass by these tiny colourful houses, I always wonder what is going on behind them, and how different these activities would be from the people of the past century a hundred years ago. The houses have changed over the years, with rooms added on top, some rooms split into two rooms and mauch refurbishing. Whatever the decoration and the material these doors are now made of, the style remains the same: one door and one window, the house owner's view onto the outside world.

All the photos were taken this morning from the road behind the cross-shaped market in Hania, which leads out to the street market (laiki).

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