PERSONAL PROJECTS: KALE 2006 - 2012
"Kale" was my first long - term project as a documentary photographer. Since then my life and photography has taken me to various visual explorations and personal journeys. However with this project I was able to enter the world of photography and has made me understand what life means to me.
Looking at the map of Greece and the distance I had to cover to reach my destination, which was the small town of Didimoticho, I realized how long and tiring my journey would be. I didn’t know much about this small town. I only knew its geographical position some history to it and the stories I had heard about some ‘Troglodytes’ that lived there.
Didimoticho is a small town located in the eastern part of the Prefecture of Evros. The Evros Prefecture is the northernmost of the prefectures of Greece. It is located in the northeastern part of the region of Thrace, and borders with Bulgaria and Turkey at the Evros River, an historical and natural border between Europe and the east.
The town was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and in the year 1361 it became the first capital of Europe sporting the first mosque in the Balkans. Today, Didimoticho has roughly nine thousand inhabitants out of which approximately two thousand are Greek Muslim and another even smaller minority, are the immigrants of Greek origin from the former Soviet Republics.
A large number of these Greek Muslims live in racially segregated ghettos, which stand in severe contrast to the surrounding area. These inhabitants speak both the Greek and the Turkish language.For most of them, life is a daily struggle. Many families live in the caves (kalé) just below the ruins of the Byzantine castle hill walls, which encircle the town. “Kalé” is an isolated cluster of dwellings dense with colorful rugs, animals and satellite dishes; a micro-world suspended in time and space.