Feb 9, 2011


This is one of my favorite postcards! It shows the Greek Presidential Guard, who are called Tsoliades (Τσολιάδες) or Evzones (Εύζωνες). They guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Άγνωστος Στρατιώτης) right down of the Greek Parliament.Until this day, when someone is very tall and handsome se say: "like tsolias at the Parliament" (σαν τσολιάς στ' Ανάκτορα").
Interesting fact: each white skirt is called fustanella and it has 400 pleats, representing the 400 years Greece was enslaved by Turkey.

Though the Presidential Guard is a predominantly ceremonial unit, all Evzones are volunteers drawn from the Hellenic Army's Infantry, Artillery and Armoured Corps. Prospective Evzones are usually identified at the Army Recruit Training Centers during Basic Training; there is a minimum height requirement of 1.86 meters to join, and the soldier must serve a minimum of 6 months with an operational Army unit before beginning Evzone training.

The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Their proven valour and peculiar dress turned them into a popular image for the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners. The word evzōnos (Greek: εὔζωνος) is first attested in Homer's Iliad and derives from "εὖ"+"ζώνη", meaning the "well-girt" men, implying an elite status. As a word it has been used by ancient writers for centuries to describe a type of light infantry of unidentified equipment, probably used as a generic term to denote light infantry.

On this stamp you can see women from Pontos wearing traditional costumes and dancing traditional dance.

The first stamp shows Hercules and the second Vasili Tsitsani (Βασίλη Τσιτσάνη) famous Greek songwriter and bouzouki player. He became one of the leading Greek composers of his time and is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern Rebetika. Tsitsanis wrote more than 500 songs and is still remembered as an extraordinary bouzouki player.

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