Gallicianò’s “Anzel Merianoù” Ethnographc Museum
The Museo Etnografico “Anzel Bogasari-Merianoù” in Gallicianò, [“Anzel Merianoù” Ethnographc Museum of Gallicianò], Condofuri, is housed in premises belonging to the parish of San Giovanni Battista, on the first floor of an ancient stone building in Via Anuchorio near the Cànnalo tis Agàpi [Fountain of Love] spring.
The collection includes traditional objects and implements capable of summarising the cultural traits of the Greek-speaking community of the Aspromonte area. Of particular interest is the collection of blankets woven in gorse (spàrto), in raw silk (capicciòla) and wool (maddhì) which, with the artefacts in carved wood, faithfully reproduce the ancient Byzantine patterns handed down to the present day by the Graecanic population which, even if materially poor, possessed a wealth of love for beauty and good taste.
These same patterns are found in the robes of the ancient Byzantine Emperors of Constantinople (today, Istanbul) and in the garments of many of the saints and ascetics portrayed in the icons, miniatures, frescoes and mosaics of the Orthodox and Byzantine churches, from Russia to Greece, from Egypt to the whole of the Mediterranean.
The CUM.EL.CA.Association, with the utmost commitment and sensitivity, has been responsible for gathering the old objects and traditional tools used by the Greek community of Gallicianò up until a few decades ago.
The very creation of the museum was made possible thanks to the interest of all the inhabitants of the old hamlet who participated with enthusiasm by collecting tools, donating some in their possession to the Museum, while the older people often identified the old Graecanic term used to indicate an article or a part of it. This terminology, referred to tools no longer in use today, risked being lost or being incorrectly applied to tools or their functions.
The Museum’s exhibition area comprises three rooms: Room A, where the tools used by shepherds and peasants for their work in the fields and on the mountains are on show; Room B, where the utensils and equipment used indoors by the Greek-speaking community to perform their daily tasks (baking, weaving, etc.) are exhibited; Room C, which presents a reproduction of the typical kind of humble dwelling inhabited by shepherds, peasants and craftsmen from the small community of Gallicianò.
Room A, where the entrance to the museum is located, represents an ideal continuation of the outdoor exhibition found along the Panaghìa tis Ellàda (Madonna of Greece) roadway. This collection, at the gateway to the village, begins with an exhibition of industrial-archaeological artefacts associated with the ancient oil mills still in operation in the Graecanic Area until the 1940’s.
The Museum is named after Anzel Merianoù, a Greek scholar of Ethnography and authoress of numerous essays, articles, poems and monographs concerning the Culture of the Greeks of Southern Italy.
Furthermore, she is the President of the Union of Greeks of Calabria.