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Every day life in Ottoman Athens

Minarets in the Parthenon and the Voevods (governor) complex beside the ruins of
Hadrians library were major themes of 18th century excursionists prints, which
illustrated Athens of that period . Turbans and white kilts, ancient columns, Crosses
and Crescents, Ottomans and Westerners, all mixed up in a colorful bouquet.

Fragments of Everyday life

Poor devils sold their merchandise through a vine covered shanty market which
was located in a central area, nowadays called Monastiraki. Goat cheese, fine quality
olive oil, olives, honey, cotton, leathers and wool were some of the goods Attica was
producing. Except of small farmers and merchants, in the area there had been also a
strong presence of craftsmens guilds. Ceramists, silverware manufacturers, smiths
and threads dyers were continuing undying traditional crafts of this land.
The Eastern occupiers brought with them coffee and of course coffeehouses, a habit
which was to become one of Greeks favorite practice. With two silver coins
(parades) locals could have a cup of coffee which they could enjoy while smoking
pipes. Quack doctors and huntsmen were some of the figures someone would meet in
such a place. The firsts were trying to sell nostrums. A very popular recipe of that
period was a mixture of olive oil, mastic, wax, garlic, egg yoke, turps, sulfur and liquid
tar, which was used as a cure for infections, skin diseases and rheumatisms. As for the
huntsmen they were trying to get a some kind of reward through treats by showing off
wolves tails which they had probably hunted on Parnitha, a mountain near Athens.
This was a saving act for many shepherds and households since those wild animals
caused them lots of trouble.
An insignificant rural town

As you may have guessed we are in Ottoman Athens, which for almost four centuries -
since Constantinoples fall and until the Greek Revolution of 1821 was not anymore
part of the Byzantine Empire, which had ceased to exist. In fact Athens in that period
of time was an insignificant small town, with 10.000 population and it spanned only
around what we today call its historic center, Monastiraki, Plaka, Thisio, Keramikos all
beneath the shadow of Acropolis which had been turned into the occupiers fortress.
Outside the towns walls fields, flocks and peasant homes composed a totally rural
scenery. No one could imagine that this small town would eventually regain its
previous glory and would become the Greek capital with a vast population of almost
5.000.000 souls, half of the countrys population.