Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
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Syrrako, the Craft and Trading Centre

Syrrako’s commercial and economic development has historically been based on two industries. The first is sheep farming and the other is the exploitation of livestock products through craft manufacturing and distribution of cheeses. Around 1630 there was a split among sheep farming families which gave way to two separate professional groups. The first included the farmers who were involved in the management of livestock and the second was made up of tailors that were involved in the craft production of domestic wool fabrics and especially the production of woolen cloaks (i.e. the cape). This product was aimed primarily at European markets. The import and export trade to and from Europe would start off from Thessaly and southern Albania, continue through Epirus’ land routes toward Corfu which was a crossroad to the Adriatic. Along with the travel of goods, these crossroads also contributed to the travel of ideas. Consequently merchants would gain new creative ideas that would influence the local intellectual and cultural movement.

A significant event that would impact the commercial and industrial craft activities of the community was the uprising of 1821 that would lead to the destruction and thus the exile of most of the population. Thessaly’s inclusion in the Greek state would be delayed and trade would show signs of a slowdown from the early 1880s. The independence of Thessaly and Arta would lead to a reduction of the area’s economic activity especially for the merchants of Syrrako. This fact, combined with the introduction of products of the already developed European craft market would gradually replace woolen textiles and lead to the decline of trade. Traders would attempt to adapt to this new environment by involving themselves in the trade of dairy products. Similarly to woolen fabrics, local expertise combined with the abundance of raw materials will provide these communities with a comparative advantage. The focus of their business will be the port of Preveza which was the only way to send people and goods to the rest of Greece and abroad. Many of the residents of Syrrako, Kalarrytes and Matsouki will seek employment as cheese makers both within and outside the Greek borders (e.g. Albania, Italy).