YESTERDAY AND TODAY
THE HISTORY OF THE IOAKEIMIDIS FAMILY
Throughout the centuries , Mediterranean
people depicted their history and culture on carpets through the art of carpet
Ancient Greek tribes like Iones, Achaei and Aoles have Homer and the ancient tragic poets as their indisputable witnesses.
A typical characteristic of the people of Asia Minor is their ability to make complicated knots just like the Gordian Bond in the city of Gordio in Frygia.
Its solution would have meant the conquest of Asia. Alexander the Great cut this bond. The Greek spirit conquered the East. The two cultures met, interacted and created.
Carpet workshops with Greek and Eastern craftsmen that the victorious army commander created throughout the East wove for centuries and milleniums the history of glorious Romania.
Asia Minor became the crossroad of Greek and Eastern carpet –weaving. The carpet with the complicated knots that we know today is the outcome of 2000 years of art in the East.
|1922. young girls from Kioutachia dressed in local costumes. Hatzisusana Ioakeimidou (on the left), and Vasiliki Rossopoulou (on the right).|
In the middle of the latest
century (approximately in 1860) the economic and political circumstances of
the time welcomed the Greek weavers from Asia Minor in the limelight of the
international trade market.
Caesaria, Kioutachia, Sevastia, Sparte, the cities of Asia Minor became the most famous weaving centres of the time. Their carpets were gathered in Smyrne and then exported to the markets of Paris and London mainly.
For 50 years all Asia Minor wove, dyed threads, created carpet patterns and exported handmade carpets from Smyrne to the big markets of America and Europe.
In Eski Sechir (Doryleon) Susanna Bagdadli and later Ioakeimidou (1905-1987), the daughter of the fur merchant Stylianos Bagdadlis (1875-1922) and Kyriaki Giagtzoglou (1883-1987) learnt how to weave from the age of 6 since after school every day she would weave a carpet on the loom together with her friends, cousins and aunts who were experienced weavers. The chief weaver of the local workshop satisfied by the work of little Susanna that she gave her a gold coin: she was only 7 years old then. It was her first pocket money.
Susanna was soon distinguished for her creative talent. Her inspiration came from the patterns that her father brought from Baghdad –the name Bagdadlis roots from it – where he used to go and trade.
On millimeter paper she designed complicated and unique patterns with exceptional skill.
|One of the hundred old patterns from the family record.|
After the disaster of the Asia Minor in 1922 and the exchange of people from both sides, the Christian people of Asia Minor moved to Greece and so did the weaving centres.
|1919 Ioakeim Ioakeimidis (on the left), Alkiviadis Symeonidis (on the right) close friends before and after the disaster|
Susanna Bagdadli came to Greece together with her family and her fiance Ioakeim Ioakeimidis, son of Kyriakos Ioakeimidis (1846-1917) and Gesthimani Meimaridis (1858-1957) from Kioutachia (KOTYEON) and settled in Komotini
She managed to bring along with her a small loom from her far away home. Like the rest of the refugees she struggled to start a new life in her new home. With a lot of struggle and strain , the looms spread not only in the area of Komotini but in the whole prefecture of Rodope . Orders followed one after the other and the weavers wove incessantly.
The looms were of Kioutachian type, more flexibles than the Caesarian type because their horizontal bars rolled around and in this way bigger carpets or even more than one could be woven.
Susanna Ioakeimidou made the dyeing of the wool in boilers at the house in Byzantium Street, Komotini.
The aunts, refugees all of them, were the main weavers who had the responsibility to weave while the younger girls sat around helping and learning the art at the same time.
Christianabla Efraimidou together with a neighbour, the mother of Mrs Marika Ioanoglou, gave life to the patterns of Suzana Ioakeimidou and they were among the most experienced weavers of the family in Komotini.
|The topic comes from the well-known story of Genovefa designed and woven by Suzanna).|
The carpets made by Susanna and her weavers decorated the houses of noble people in the area of East Macedonia and Thrace. Soon, the Ioakeimidis family became famous for the rugs and masterpieces that were made on their looms.
At the same period, Antonis Ladopoulos first cousin of Susanna accomplished a great deal in Xanthi designing and weaving the following patterns.
|28 January 1935. Family photo –Ioakeim, Susanna and their sons Nikolaos and Kyriakos|
The International crisis from the American Depression affected Greece. The Greek slump was a fact. This affected carpet weaving as well. The workshops of Susanna Ioakeimidis went through the first crisis. They became prosperous again in the middle of the 30’s.
|6th September 1943. Family photo. Up on the right Ioakeim Ioakeimidis and his son Kyriakos his brother –in –law George and Aikaterini Bagdadli. Down on the left, Susanna Bagdadli, her son Stylianos, her sister-in-law Anastasia and Suzanna’s son Nikolaos . Anastasios Bagdadlis , Suzanna’s brother, notary by profession is not in the picture|
After the Second World War Greek carpet weaving took the last blow. The carpets were taken as loot by the conqueror and the workshops shut down. Even the raw materials, wool and cotton were difficult to be found.
During the occupation, many people were forced by the circumstances to sell even their mattresses made of wool or cotton to make a woolen or cotton thread. The shortage in raw materials was such that some people used paper thread as a warp. Susanna and her weavers never used such material.
On the contrary, she went on. She wove and contacted with all the remaining workshops in Komotini. In this way she made her living not only for her family but also for her weavers. In addition, her husband Ioakeim a noble but simple man took care of the people who worked for him. During the difficult years of the occupation, she supplied her weavers with sugar, flour and pasta from the Pomaks of mountainous Rodope to whom she met secretly in the night. .
1945-1975After the end of the war, the workshops in whole Greece started working again.
In Thrace, the looms that would weave the carpets of Ioakeimidis House were set up again.
In Lavara, Evros, Mrs Demetra Tsilia remembers 4 looms, one on which she used to weave. In Xanthi , in Korai and Themistokleous Street there were 15 people working on 14 looms. This area was well known for its workshops.
The dyeing of the wool took place at 23 Byzantiou Street in Komotini by the chief craftsmen Panagiotis and Dimitris Kenanidis .
|1948. From the right to the left, Ioakeim, Aikaterini Bagdadli, Susanna, Gesthimani, Kyriakos and his first cousin Kyriakos Kelempekoglou.|
During the ’50s -’60s , EOMMEX ordered looms from Ioakeim Ioakeimidis, Suzanna’s husband, to equip the workshops in the whole country . Ioakeim was in charge of the construction of the looms in Mr Stefanos Papoutsis’ workshop, in Komotini. At the same time he supervised the construction of the stretching machines (‘bourgou’) in a machine –shop where scissors and combs were made for the looms.
|1955 family photo. In front of their house at 23 Byzantiou street in Komotini. Ioakeim –Susanna and their children Kyriakos, Nikolaos, Stylianos. Gesthimani Meimaridou , mother of Ioakeim is sitting.|
During this period, Ioakeim held a coppersmith workshop at Ephaistos Square in Komotini.
At this time, Susanna and Ioakeim’s children started working for the business; Kyriakos in particular.
In 1952 the family took part in an exhibition in Volos where they were awarded an honorary prize.
Kyriakos Ioakeimidis (on the left)
Similar participation in the International Fair of Salonika in 1953.
In 1957, the first son of the family, Kyriakos, married Evaggelia Paschalidou from Xanthi.
The family was famous in all of Greece for their carpets –masterpieces that were woven in their workshops. Three large carpets 2,5 x 3,5 were sent to Lamia. Hotel ‘Pantheon’ in Athens ordered a set of carpets. Long carpets were laid on the floor of Metropolis in Kavala. This was the ‘golden age’ of Ioakeimidis carpet manufacturing. .
A fact comparable not only to the name of the family but also to the tradition of the Greek people especially of those coming from Asia Minor was crowned at this period. In 1966, Ioakeim donated money to the Holy Metropolis of Maronia and Komotini for the erection of a boarding school in the yard of Saint Sophia’s Church in Komotini; in this way he was among the great benefactors of the nation. King Constantine awarded him a medal in 1967 in Athens. For the same reason, the Patriarch of Konstantinopolis, Athinagoras awarded him the patriarchic medal of the Great Man of Christianity on 8th of March 1968.
Áñéèì. Ðñùô. 188.
Times have changed; the economy has changed as well. The markets in Asia are open since the wages there are low. Greek handmade carpet industries could not compete with those of the East. Having this in mind, the House of Ioakeimidis turned to
Photos quality control during a trip in Pakistan
the countries of the East where they imported handmade carpets from famous Houses in Persia, China, Pakistan and India. In this way a collection of invaluable masterpieces were gathered comparable to the name of the family and its tradition of good handmade carpets.
There are many factors for the evaluation and quality of carpets. Only experts are in the position to evaluate them. THE HOUSE OF IOAKEIMIDIS is among the experts in Greece due to their 100-year-old tradition in handmade carpet manufacturing. This long tradition on one hand, and the wish to create on the other, constitutes the criteria for the uncompromising and precise selection of carpets. A fact that keeps the quality of the collection at very high levels. The grandsons of Susanna and Ioakeim bear great responsibility and duty.
Athanasios Ioakeimidis, son of Kyriakos, bears the heritage. The exhibitions of the collection in renowned hotels like ‘PENTELIKO’ , ‘HANDRIS’ , ‘HILTON’ ,
, ‘G. BRITAIN’ in Athens, ‘ELECTRA PALACE’, ‘MACEDONIA PALACE’ in Salonika, succeeds one another.
The family is still famous throughout
Greece. The carpets of Ioakeimidis House are laid on the floors of churches
and monasteries in Mount. Athos, in famous hotels in Greece. Invitations to
participate in various exhibitions are tempting and successive above all honorary.
In Kastoria, Larisa, Heraklio, Patra, art lovers welcome the collection of Ioakeimidis.
Because of their love for tradition and their love for their homeland, Thrace, the Ioakeimidis family takes a decision of great importance. The first concerns the inviolate duty of the people who continue this family tradition to set up the workshop of carpet making for the family.
|Mrs Sophia Paschalidou excellent weaver recollects the past when she was young and worked on the loom of Ioakeimidis House . Charalambos Ampatzis, from Chioutachia, Asia Minor; the one who set the traditional loom of the family|
The second decision concerns the
duty of the family to come up to the expectations of the Greek market and inform
people on how to purchase handmade carpets.
Through the Internet, people can communicate, be informed and even better order from us. Komotini, Thrace, this remote area of Greece is not far , not any more