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The traditional house in Karpathos

Author: Arpathea Villas
The Karpathian house is characterized for its special internal layout and its rich decoration, unlike its casual exterior look. Particularly the “Big House”, which is used for visits, celebrations, feasts and generally for official days, is adorned with wonderful works of folk art. The whole house is divided into several parts in order to serve the family needs according to the customs of the island.

The Big House is divided into two spaces by the central pole which is called Mesa. The bigger space is occupied by the Sufades, which are wooden lofts tighten to the walls with wooden handrails. The Sufades are usually two. The lower Sufas next to the main entrance and the upper Sufas (or panosoufao). In the Sufas someone can climb through wooden stairs, once caught by two wooden poles (Ortoi) which have on their front railings with woodwork, the Trapouzania.

Perpendicular to the Sufas is located the Pagali which is used for seating and storage. It is a kind of tall wooden sofa, mounted on the wooden facade of the lower Sufas. It is divided into two parts, the exterior Pagali (next to the door) and interior Pagali (next to the Sufas). In these benches are stored the flour, cereals, legumes and other agricultural products.

All space under the two Sufades is occupied by the two Apokriati, the external Apokriatos (below the lower Sufas) and the internal Apokriatos (below the upper Sufas). This large wooden cabinets serve the storage of cheese, butter, wine etc.

Wooden shelves with fine decorative carvings are also characteristics of the Karpathian house. These shelves are decorated by standing in line nice old dishes and bowls and pitchers, many of which are very valuable, brought from distant countries by sailors and emigrants, who give with their colors a special character in the Big House.
In this way folk craftsmen of Karpathos have achieved to turn the Big House into a convenient home for the family and a nice room suitable for group feasts, which are so common to these tenderhearted islanders.