The village Kazaviti on Thassos island in Greece.

Until two decades ago the mountain village of Kazaviti on Thassos remained abandoned and dormant; the population had left the village already around 1950 and had moved down to the coastal plain, to the modern village of Prinos. Decay spread over the ancient settlement, hardy anyone took care that the stone slate roofs were repaired. Rainwater entered the buildings. Roofs began to collapse under the heavy weight of the slate. The village's pure traditional character, however, remained unspoiled and no modern structures had invaded Kazaviti yet.
Up to the present times the ancient stone mansions in Macedonian style dominate the scenery. As there exists no official control by the planning authorities, however, this architectural heritage is vanishing; due to the scandalous neglection by the Greek government that is responsible for this irreplaceable loss of cultural assets: instead the planning office grants easy permission for ugly, over-sized, concrete-built houses in non-traditional design. In full disregard of the law: already in 1978 Kazaviti was officially classified as "Traditional Settlement" and legal restrictions imposed in order to preserve its character. but practically nobody cares about these regulations except of those which are concerned anyway.
In the old days there were no professional architects and no building plans: out of the traditional vision, that had evolved over uncounted generations as the essence of inherited experiences and local identity, the village people themselves created their homes with the assistance of individual master builders. The building materials were taken from the natural environment: stone, clay and lime, massive beams of pine rich in rezin, and of durable chestnut wood. The stylistic architectural framework allowed and even encouraged individual variation - in marvelous adaptation to the natural structures of the land on the slope were the village was founded, and according to how the individual families envisaged their new homes. Communal units evolved. Their symphony of architectural structures, as they gradually had grown out of communal bonds and personal imagination, their harmony with the natural environment, too, are those real values of village heritage that cannot be constructed anymore and are therefore irreplaceable, to be preserved by all means! Because the communal motivations and abilities to visualized and create , these true traditional agenda vanished for ever with the village communities having broken their communal framework and the bonds to the past. Significant parts of the traditional village quarters are also the stone-layed garden walls, the garden terraces at the slopes, stone-paved walkways, free standing ovens and wine-presses, wooden pergolas and other functional structures.
The surviving architectural heritage should not be seen only as a museum-like monument. The living quality in such old stone houses with their massive walls that balance out the climatic ups and downs, is superb and cannot be created in modern concrete buildings. Nor the lofty upper floor rooms that link to sheltered balconies (with a marvelous panorama view). Only old, well preserved buildings can convey this unique and good feeling of inviting, cozy shelter and direct link to the natural realm all around. Re-creation, recovery from the effects of urban life comes instantly and will last, because living in one of the old stone mansions means return to our common ancient roots in village tradition.
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View from the ridge

Green belt
planned holiday house Villa Manola
House Manola

House Drosopoulou

House Karatasou

Macedonian style

Monastic mansion

Central square

Village feast

Family celebration

Macedonian style

View from the square

The green Village

Restored mansion

Lower village quarter

Bell tower of 1930

Church of 1804
planned holiday house Villa Zografou
House Zografou

Macedonian style

Simple stone house
planned holiday house Villa Kiranastasi
House Kyranastasi

Upper village quarter
planned holiday house Villa Epaminonda
House Epaminonda
planned holiday house Villa Kalliopi
House Kalliopi
planned holiday house Villa Koutla
Simple stone house
planned holiday house Villa Manola
House Manola 1807

Derelict House

The central quarter

Imported new style

Non-style dwellings
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