Sarakatsani - Settlements

Traditional Sarakatsani settlements were located on or near their leased grazing lands both during summers and winters. Dwellings were of two types, with the most characteristic being a domed hut, framed of branches and covered with thatch. The second type was a wood-beamed, thatched, rectangular structure. In both types, the centerpiece of the dwelling was a stone hearth. The floors and walls were plastered with mud and mule dung. Since the late 1930s, national requirements for the registration of citizens has led many if not most Sarakatsani to adopt as legal residence the villages associated with summer grazing lands, and many Sarakatsani have since bought houses in such villages. During the winter, However, their settlement patterns still follow the more traditional configuration: a group of cooperating households, generally linked by ties of kinship or marriage, build their houses in a cluster on flat land close to the leased pasturage, with supporting structures (for the cheese merchant and cheese maker) nearby. Pens for goats and folds for newborn lambs and nursing ewes are built close to the settlement. This complex is called the stani, a term also used to refer to the cooperative group sharing the leased land.

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