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Kafeneio “Apeiranthos”

Α traditional coffee house in Naxos

Apeiranthos is a mountain village on the eastern part of Naxos. Located 28 km north-east of the island’s capital, at an altitude of 650 meters, Apeiranthos is one of the most beautiful villages in all of the Cyclades.

“T’Aperathou”, as locals proudly call Apeiranthos, has been the home of shepherds’ and farmers’ communities, emery mine workers but also the home of poets, men of letters and of men passionate about arts and politics. The village is endowed with unique beauty, has its own local dialect with ancient Greek and Byzantine Greek elements, and unique customs, such as Koudounatoi (a custom taking place every year during carnival before Ash Monday. Young men with a series of sheep bells around their waist walk through the streets of the village and by shaking their bells they try to make the evil spirit go away), features which make the inhabitants of Apeiranthos rightfully boast about their village. However, firstly and foremost, they boast about Apeiranthos’s songs. Men and women originated from Apeiranthos have a special gift, they can speak in rhymes, and as locals say, “t’Aperathou is a rhyme-creating village”. The poems created in Apeiranthos are called kotsakia, which are 15-syllable 2-line poems.

Kafeneio “i Apeiranthos”, owned by M. Glezos and G. Polykretis, is located at the Platsa, the central Square of the village, venue of endless spirited political discussions. Michalis Glezos, one of the owners, is cousin of Manolis Glezos, the man who, together with Apostolos Santas, took down from Acropolis Hill the nazi flag with the swastika raised during German occupation. The management of the kafeneio changes yearly, passing from one owner to the other.

Reminiscent of the old days kyr Michalis (kyr, added before the name of an old men, is a way to salute or address him in a respectful way, informal word), who is 85 years old and has never left Naxos, said:

“Back then, Apeiranthos was a rich place due to cattle breeding, the crops and the emery. When the rest of Naxos was using oil lamps, electricity had already reached Apeiranthos. More than eighty respectful old people dressed in their traditional breeches would come here on a Sunday morning for their coffee. Young people usually arrived in the afternoon to play cards. I remember that I noted everything down in my pending payments notebook (tefteri in Greek) and once these people received their monthly wage from the emery extracting company they would come to the coffee house to pay me back. At that time, every family was producing its own wine, bread, potatoes and it had its own animals. What we ate was what we produced. Nowadays, we buy everything. But the worst part is that young people do not want to go out and work in the fields to make a living”.

  • Απείρανθος, Νάξος
  • Απείρανθος

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  • Address
    Apeiranthos, Naxos
  • Category
    Traditional Cafés
  • Location
    Naxos

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Kafeneio “Apeiranthos”
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