Photo by Anwar Ghoubari

Ambelakia: A travel in time

Ambelakia is a very old and famous village in the province of Larissa. It is built on the slopes of Kissavos mountain. The village is known for its splendid palaces, ancient streets and churches, as there was economic growth in the past and a special military power in this region, which led to a shift in Europe.

Their most prominent commercial activity in that period was the processing and dyeing of cotton threads in a very recognizable red colour, using a plant named rizari. In order to face the competition from other areas that had similar commercial activity, they decided to establish a Cooperative which became very famous.

The Georgios Schwartz’s Μansion

The Georgios Mavros Schwartz’s Mansion is dated back to the 18th century and perhaps is the oldest building of the village, standing until today. Georgios Mavros Schwartz was the President of the Ambelakia Cooperative. The mansion began to be built as his residence in 1787 and it was completed in 1789. It also served as the headquarters of the Cooperative from 1778 to 1820. It consists of three floors, with amazing architecture.

Photo by Anwar Ghoubari

The ground floor is built of stone and on your right hand you find a courtyard that leads to the basement, which was used to store tools and other things. Opposite the entrance there is an area paved with wood that was for their meetings about the Cooperative and trade deals. On the left hand, beside the stairs that leads to the upper floor, there is a vault for keeping the company’s funds and documents.

The second floor was where the family used to live in the winter and was designed in a certain way, so as a few windows could make the place warmer for them. It has comprised of three rooms and of course I can’t but mention the fancy fireplace.

After that, we have the last floor which was dedicated to summer, due to the large number of windows that allow the light to get it, that gives the rooms an interesting breath of fresh air, in addition to the drawings that cover the rooms’ walls, which are inspired by real cities, such as Constantinople and an imaginary brotherhood, landscapes, birds and many decorative items. But the thing that surprised me the most there, were the beautiful ceilings, the sense of glory that you get in this building, the richness of the interior decoration and the luxury that was indicative of their financial standing and their expensive taste.

Photo by Anwar Ghoubari

The Eagle room is the richest of all the mansion rooms, it has a painted and decorated wood ceiling. The ceiling decoration is divided into four sections, which contain a lot of positive energy and beauty. Until now, the historians cannot verify the artist, but their initials were L.L. This artist was distinguished for the ingenuity of their drawings and the diversity of forms of decoration that balance between Eastern and Western elements.

Agios Georgios church

Photo by Anwar Ghoubari

And of course, when someone travels to Ambelakia they should not miss visiting the church of Agios Georgios. The impressive stones it is made of are matching magnificently with the nature around it!

This church was built in the early 16th century and it is also decorated with wood art and a ceiling decorated with stars. In the southern square of the place, you will find a bust of Rogon Iosif, who participated in the siege of Mesologgi.

Ambelakia will remain one of the most beautiful and most wonderful places I have ever visited in Greece. This visit gave me a chance to travel through time. I could imagine I was living in that era! I had already heard and studied about the ancient and modern Greek civilization, but on this day, I managed to experience it in a unique way through all my senses.

Anwar Ghoubari