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yfantiki2 The art of weaving is among the primary arts in the history of mankind. It has served fundamental needs of life and has depicted in a fine manner the imagination, the taste, the joy of creation and the tradition of the weaver of every area.

In the past, Arnaia, as a center of weaving, saw a great economic growth. For centuries, weaving was the main occupation of women in a household. In the French Consul-General’s of Thessaloniki, Cousinéry’s, book “A trip of Chalkidiki in 1793” the following is reported: “The prosperity in which the people of Liarigovi live does not only originate from the cultivation of their crops. They make carpets (khilims), for which they use wool from Arnaia. Almost all the families occupy with this trade and its products are sold even as far as Rumelia and especially in Monastir (a.k.a. Bitola)’’. yfantiki4

According to tradition, in the “Orya” Castle, which is historically placed on the hill of Prophet Elias, the Queen was weaving using golden threads and a golden shuttle in her also golden loom, still buried in the castle’s dungeons. The patterns that the weavers adopted were initially simple. Suns, stars, trees, animals, flower pots. Later on we see a predominance of themes from the Holy Mount. Athos, various elements from mythology, history or the village life. The carpets (khilims), various silk-made carpets used for covering the inner surface of doors and the famous wall carpets were the most common forms of weaving creations that were not only used in households, but also sold in markets as merchandise.

The raw material of weavers was wool, since the main occupation of Arnaia’s inhabitants was animal farming, and also cotton. Special craftsmen, called “stivahtarides” brought the cotton; put the cotton bundles in stacks while the women threw the warp for the carpets and the wall carpets. They also worked with silk but to a lesser extent, from the silk seed to the cocoon and the silk thread, which they used to call “vrochos”.

Modern woven materials are artificial ones including products that are made of cellulose, such as rayon, acetate, etc. as well as synthetic fibers which are used extensively due to the advantages they have.

Depending on the category of the woven fiber the appropriate colour or dying technique is used.

Permanent colours, whose main supplier was nature itself, played a significant role. Onion skins, fig leaves, “shuco”, i.e. the dirty water that comes from the washing of wool, various plants, animals and rocks from the surrounding areas offered a great variety of colours, of course, with the appropriate processing.

In recent years synthetic colours have taken the place of all other types. They are classified under more than 140 groups according to their chemical composition and their technical application.

The order of the consecutive processes for weaving products was the following:

  • Washing the wool in pits.
  • Wool carding with a wire card made by a cardsman from Arnaia (Thinning and shredding of the wool which is wrapped around the card and creates multiple rounds).
  • Wool throwing (The wool rounds are wrapped around the card and are thrown by the spindle)
  • The last and most difficult part of this long process was weaving on the wooden loom, i.e. knitting machine, which produced a plain or coloured woven pattern.

yfantiki5 The high cost of hand-made products, the shortage on labour force which started to make its appearance in the 1970s due to immigration, the decline in the number of children in each family, the change in parental mentality towards an educated future for their offsprings, the improvement of living standards, the turn towards other more profitable professions, are the main reasons for the decline of weaving nowadays.

A paraphrase of a local proverb “the woven cloth dresses the inhabitant of Arnaia from birth until death” clearly depicts the role of weaving in the life of Arnaia and the disposition of the folk muse can be seen in the paraphrased verses of the following song:


Such a great honour is the presence

Of the weaving machine in each household

That each tooth of this machine

Is worth as much as a pearl.



yfantiki1 Golden is the loom

raddle made of mother of pearl

and a slim-figured girl

who sings and weaves


Weaving is a festivity

but the weaving machine is slavery,

a slavery too great.






Beekeeping is very developed in Chalkidiki. Arnaia has been famous for its bee-related products since older times.

The old beekeepers, knowledgeable of the art of their ancestors, used to construct their own bee hives (known as “coffins”) which resembled baskets, as well as most of the tools used in beekeeping.



They took care of the bees handling their separation (multiplication in other terms), the bees’ pasturing and of course the harvesting of honey.

They continuously relocated the hives in different places, depending on the duration of the bee pasturing. Appropriate places are mountainous spots, where, depending on the season, fruit-bearing trees or Erica manipuliflora are in blossom.

meli4 For the removal of honey from the hives they used the old method (draining) according to which the melting of the bee hives inside the coffins was performed manually.

From the remains of bee hives after their crushing bee wax was produced. One of the products of the remnants of bee waxing was the so-called “mountovina” (an alcoholic drink resembling raki).

Beekeepers continue to produce the same products even today.

The honey of Arnaia, known for its excellent quality, is sold by the producers in the village main square as well as in shops.

Today’s beekeepers have modernized the production process of honey and its other products, but they continue to consider beekeeping as a secondary source to their annual income.

Ευρωπαϊκή Κάρτα Νέωνespa-2014-2020