AIMOS. WANDERINGS IN THE BALKANS

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….but why the Balkans? Maybe bacause this neighbourhood, wedged into Europe’s flank by the East, might contain symbolisms and codes that define how its peoples think and are. Because this geographical matrix of contradictions, a mould -the official history tells us- that turns out irredentism, rivarly and strife, is often branded -fairy or unfairly- as the pariah of Europe; as something other to it, a powder keg packed with new democracies deformed by contradictions and unbridgeable divides even us the come into being. In the Western imaginary, the Balkans are a dystopian blot on the landscape, a land of second-class citizens….

….peoples, religions, ethnicities, customs and habits produce an alluring hotchpotch which comes with a luminosity and profound humanity; with the Balkan soul,which may seem coarse and alien, but becomes spontaneous and captivating when it catches light. So it wast these Balkans, in all their harshness, that i began to discover on my journey.

….the symbols of the Balkans aren’t only hatred death and revenge, the graves in Srebrenica, economic primitivism, nationalisms. They are the children, too, playing in the ruind of an abandoned factory at dusk,an antidote to decay; they are the newly-married mixed-faith couple; they are crossing from its one side to the other with faith in the future, as Rigas envisioned it, your only passport.

 

Preface: Aimos. Wanderings in the Balkans. Agra Publications. June 2019

Translated from the Greek by Michael Eleftheriou

 

 

 

Agrafa, Greece. A man walks on a path in the mountains of the Agrafa region.
Sinop, Turkey. Girls gaze at the sea.
Stolipinovo, Bulgaria. Man with guns during a wedding.
Novosej, Albania. Men are praying in front of the coffin.
Central Evia. Greece. Trojan Horse.
Peshkopia, Albania. Two boys play football on a street in the evening.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria. A boy is playing on a trampoline in Stolipinovo, a «ghetto» located on the outskirts of the city.
Pljevlja, Montenegro. The wife of a Yugoslav Colonel. Photo from the family grave
Kukes, Albania. The city at night as seen from the highest building.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The groom and the bride descend the stairs of their flat.
Fus Kosov, Kosovo. Α baby in his swing inside a house in the suburbs of Pristina.
Evia Island, Greece. A woman, her child and Jesus.
Bitola, FYROM. The place next to the church where the believers gather after the mysteries.
Albania - Kosovo borders. Men in an old cafe in the northest point of Albania.
Skepan Polje, Montenegro. A girl is resting behind the bar counter.
Black Sea, Romania. The sea at night.
Rodopi Mountain Range. Greeek - Bulgarian borders. Α christian and a muslim woman.
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gravestones at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 massacre.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria. A boy wearing a mask in a Roma neighborhood.
Pristina, Kosovo. During a woman's funeral.
Pristina, Kosovo. The funeral of some UCK fighters who were killed in Kumanovo, FYROM after days of fighting with the army and the police.
Bosnia and Herzegovina. A landfill near the road.
Athens, Greece. Greeks in Syntagma Square during the demonstration about the name of the neighboring country, FYROM. A political problem that lasts more than 25 years.
Chalkis, Greece. A man kisses his woman. They were living for months wih their three children in the abandoned Municipal Market.
Albania - Kosovo borders. During a feast that villagers welcome Spring.
Mitrovica, Kosovo. Walking on the hill in the industrial area
Peshkopia, Albanial. Two men in a hot spring.
Ordu,Turkey. Children collect leaves for food and place them on a map of Turkey and Greece.
Istanbul, Turkey. A transgender in Tarlabasi, near Taxim Square.
Central Romania, The story of Dumitru family.
Xanthi, Greece. A woman with her grandsons.
Shkoder, Albania. Boys are playing on the ruins of a factory.
Mount Athos, Greece. A monk is walking on a path. The last four years he lives alone in cell in the middle of the woods away from civilization
Pristina, Kosovo. Men in the old market of town
Greek - Bulgarian borders. Girls with traditional costumes.
Pristina, Kosovo. A boy is standing into an abandoned house in the suburbs of Pristina.
Serbia. View from the aeroplane