The angel in Nimfeo

By on February 13th        0 Comments   /   show comments


We were in Macedonia that time. At the western part. In the Florina region … In Nympheo village, precisely…

And I was observing with curiosity at Saint Nicholas, the main church of the village. A Saint Nikolas far away from the sea and inside Vitsi mountain.

Νυμφαίο, Φλώρινα


“The church was built in the memory of Saint Nicholas, patron of the sailors and also patron of the Nympheots who were once traveling to Egypt. That’s why they worshiped a sea-connected Saint, up here, on the mountains. Villagers in Nympheo still use sailor’s expressions today. For example they call fourtouna (sea storm) the bad weather and the snow … ”

All the information above I was told earlier by the priest John Zezios, the vicar of Nympheo, a very cute and pleasant man (and also conservator of rare furniture and antiques, a unique artisan…) who showed us the impressive temple of the village. “It was built in 1867 by the Nympheot tycoon Michail efendi Tsirlis. It was restored in 2000 with a donation of another Nymfiot Nikos Sossidis, son of the former Greek Ambassador John Sossidis. “

The autumn rain stopped … Around the church a mysterious fog was spread. It smelled like rotten oak tree leaves and mushrooms. Among the fog vapors were popping up the melancholic signs of the cemetery of the village…

“Let’s take a walk to here…” I thought. I walked. And I found something interesting. In the old cemetery of Nympheo the dead people were buried according to their neighborhoods, according were they lived in the village. That is, if you lived in the east part of the village, you were buried at the east part of the cemetery. The post mortem planning was following the living one… The urbanism of the underworld in Nimpheo was strange, wasn’t …

I saw some great quality old graves with state of the art sculpture. I admire especially the wonderful marble angel and the old style railings in the tomb of the Nikou family, dated in 1896. The white marble statue emerged with a melancholic gaze th rough the damp woods of Vitsi Mt. I thought the Nickou family. And the Nympheo benefactors … Oh what a nice place for reflections I found…


Νυμφαίο, Φλώρινα, Μακεδονία


Of course … Benefactors is a timeless case to the Nympheo village. The greatest among its benefactors – tycoons during the years of great prosperity was Michas Tsirlis, who had a large cotton gin in Gkountampa, Egypt. At 1864 Mihas Tsirlis returned in Nympheo with 60,000 gold coins in his luggage and benefited variously the village building churches, monasteries, mansions and a Turkish barracks near Nympheo (the Turks called him “Miralai” ie honorary colonel the Ottoman army). Pavlos Melas had installed the center of Operations for the Macedonian Struggle in Tsirlis’ mansion.

Other Nympheots tobacco merchants and tobacco producers in Egypt were Fistas, Loustas, Doudos, Zezios, and many others. Famous tycoons and benefactors of Nympheo were also the family members of Sossidis. The Sossidis’ were tobacco merchants and manufacturers, they built factories and companies in the Balkans in Hamburg in Egypt and later Nanos Sossidis organized in Greece the National Organization for Tobacco (for this he was decorated by pime minister Charilaos Trikoupis).

The Nymfeot Jean Nikou became director at the Swedish Tobacco Monopoly and Constantine Missiou (grandfather of the famous wine producers Boutari brothers) made tobacco factories in Thessaloniki and Hamburg. All these very capable people brought huge success in Nympheo village. It was they who gave meaning to the word “noble” and their descendants continue to benefit Nympheo till today.

I was distracted but the patricians in Nympheo. It usually happens though in this village. By the time you learn how did all this nice architecture was made, you start day dreaming …

I stopped my reflections and went to the plaza to meet my friend John, who brought wild mushrooms for dinner ….



Νυμφαίο, Φλώρινα, Μακεδονία


Where am I?

Nympheo is located in western Macedonia in Florina and relatively close to the main road between Amynteon and Kastoria. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Greece and the quickest way to get here is via Egnatia Odos.


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