Flies in Emporio

By on September 9th    /    Culture, Cyclades, Islands, Photos    /    0 Comments   /   show comments



Truly weird title huh?

 I was close to beach, at , the largest village of , sitting in a shade close to the Main Gate of the old, medieval settlement . It was noon and summer. The village was quiet and other flies – beyond the normal for the month of August – I did not see at all.


But those are not the “flies” of the title .


“Flies” is a theater play written by the famous Jean-Paul Sartre .

What does this has to do with Emporio village?




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Listen . In 1937 Sartre came for holidays in Greece along with Simone de Beauvoir . His journey brought him in Santorini and specifically in Emporio village.


How it was the village then; What did Sartre see and experienced here? I was wondering watching an old man who tied his fruit laden donkey just outside Kastelli, in the shade of an acacia tree and they he lay under the  thicker shade next to the church for a noon rest.


The play “The Flies” (Les Mouches) is a drama in three acts . Sartre was inspired by the famous myth of Atreus . E… , um… of course he added his famous existentialist elements in the show. Which was premiered at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in 1943.




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And now a few gossip. They say that Sartre wrote the  “Flies” specially for his secret girlfriend, the actress Olga Kosakiewicz, which was of course a friend of Simone de Beauvoir. Olga was a rising actress that time and Sartre wrote this play to help her.


I lost track of my story again though … What does Sartr’s” Flies ” have to do with Emporio ? It seems that Sartre’s holidays in Santorini and Emporio village impressed him much. He was really excited by the ambience of the old medieval village, Kastelli and the old churches, the canaves (wine cellars) and the unique architecture. So he inspired the scenes of the ” Flies ” like something reminiscent of Emporio atmosphere.


And that day, that very hot summer noon, I was trying to imagine Orestes , Aegisthus , Electra and Clytemnestra in front of the medieval alleys of Emporio. The setting of the play was of course Argos town of Mycenaean era, the stone palace, the gates with lions. In Sartre’s play that ancient city is infested by giant swarms of flies. Which left the city when Orestes left (after killing his mother…) relieving the city from the guilt (flies symbolized guilt according to Sartre…).




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Very heavy thoughts for summer noon though … I stopped reading the information sent to me by a friend, an actress ( alas no travel guide does not mention the relationship between Sartre and Emporio ) and started walking  through the dark streets of Kastelli, which was once one of the five fortified settlements of Santorini. I thought I could find the old church of Panagia Mesiani dating from the 16th century.


I wore my hat and got up.


The old man had woken up, wagging his own hat furiously, scaring the flies that spoiled his sleep.


“Damn insects… “, he said. “I wish someone can take them away from here … “.


I am sure he had not  read Sartre …



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Where am I ?


But in Santorini, the most famous travel destination in Greece ! The quickest way to come here is by plane from Athens (and from a bunch of airports around the world !). Emporio village is located at the southern part of the island , on the road leading to the famous black sandy beach of Perissa.

Learn more about the old houses of Emporio here  www.inhabitblue.com



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