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The History of the Village Print E-mail
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The History of the Village
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The village appears as an organized settlement by the name Mosnikolas in a document related to a census made by a Murad Bey in 1454 – 1455.  The corruption of the name does not possibly mean that the name does not refer to the present village.


This census was carried out in the years 1454-1455 for the Ottoman state by MuradBey and his scribe. They went about all the villages of the region and recorded the inhabitants, their crops and their occupations in general.

At the General State Archives in Karditsa there is a ledger in two volumes published in Turkey in 2001. One volume contains the greatest part of the census transliterated in the Latin alphabet and the other the whole census in the Arabic script, which was previously in use all over the Ottoman Empire. In order to render exactly the sounds he heard, the scribe used also Persian characters, which makes the text for us harder to understand.

This ledger gives us a clear picture of the villages of our area during the post Byzantine era. In the years of the census Messenikolaswas populated by 42 families, all Christian. The leaders of the 41 families were male and only one family had a widow as a leader. 15 single males were also attested.

The main occupation of the people was, as it is even today, viticulture as well as wine making. There were also cereal production, apiculture, sericulture, linen crops and other such pursuits, which are thoroughly mentioned in the census lists.

It is very interesting to note the names of the people. 14 families bore the surname Vassilis, whereas the widow was named ZoyaVassilova.

9 families had the surname Tzirtzis and three the name Birtzagis.  Among the names written in the ledgerconcerning people from Messenikolas and its surrounding area, are still found today, such as: Paskos, Tsoukalas, Kardaras, Xenos. Our village was entered in the census ledger as Mosnikolas, which today in Rumanian means Saint Nicholas or Uncle Nicholas.

The volume published in Turkey in 2001 includes in Latin script a great part of the census along with a mapcontaining the villages: Voniş (Vounesi), Palads(Blasdo), Portice(Portitsa), AyioYorgi(AgiosGeorgios), Kirasia, (Kerasia) Istinko(Kryoneri), Bijila(Bezoula), Tatay(Lambero) and others. Even Franco is mentioned, while there appears a settlement by the name of Nikola Çapoga, in the whereabouts of today’s Mitropolis.

Messenikolas was levied an annual tax of 2253 akce (aspra) payable to the feudal lord or reeve of the villageḤüseyinveled-iTimürdār. The same lord collected also the taxes from two Moslem villages of the Thessalian plain, Kesanlu (near today’s Kedros) and KizilkaSule. It should be noted that the Moslem population paid fewer taxes as they did not have to pay the ispence, a sort of capital tax. The feudal lord, apart from collecting the taxes, had to fulfill certain military obligations to the Sultan. The feudal administrative regime was a Byzantine legacy to the Ottomans, who found it most useful to retain.

Messenikolas belonged to the sancak (administrative area) of Trikala, which included the area from Nafpaktos as far as Platamonas. This sancak  comprised three vilayetsin our region. According to the map Messenikolas, along with Kerasia, Vounesi and Blasdo, belonged to the Fener (Fanari) vilayet. The remaining villages of the Nevropolis plateau, from Istinkoand further on, belonged to the Agrafavilayet. The third and largest vilayet was the one of Tirhala(Trikala).



We are deeply indebted to the Historian-Osmanologist of the National Capodistrian University of Athens (Dpt of Turkic and Contemporary Asiatic Studies) DrGeorgiosLiakopoulos for his careful task he undertook with great willingness to transliterate and translate the text of the census.

Finally, this publication is dedicated to the memory of our unforgettable friend and co-villager AlexandrosZoukas, who, more than a score of years ago, was the first to draw our attention to this as then unpublished ledger.


Translated into English by MILITSIS VASSILIS

The following is an exact translation of an excerpt of the census with a number of explanatory references that DrLiakopoulos had the courtesy to point out. 

Since 1525, when the so called Treaty of Tamasion was signed granting autonomy to the region of Agrafa, Messenikolas and the adjacent area had enjoyed a regime of self-rule until the time of Ali Pasha of Yannina. The latter abolished the autonomy of Agrafa in 1790 by violating the treaty.

The next written evidence comes from a 1637 inscription which mentions the sponsor of the frescoes painted in the village church, dedicated to the Holy Virgin.

Still another evidence arises from an unpublished deed of sales of 17 Nov, 1785 enacted between a certain resident, Stergios Psimmenopoulos or Psimmenos and a Turk, called Hosinaga.

In 1821, along with the rest of Greece, all the villages of Agrafa revolted against the Turks. In response to this uprisal, Mahmud Pasha, Dramalis moved against them and his successor Mustai Pasha of Skondra devastated the villages while he was heading towards Karpenission in 1823.

With the founding of the Greek State in 1833, Thessaly remained under the Ottoman yoke. Messenikolas was designated as the seat of the Nevropolis Gendarmerie Command, and ever since it had been the administrative center of the surrounding area even after Thessaly was annexed to Greece in 1881.

On June 26, 1848 Messenikolas was raided by a gang of two hundred armed bandits. The bandits made off with as much booty as they could carry loaded high on pack animals they seized from the villagers.

In 1854 there was again a revolutionary movement, which was instantly quenched by the Turks.

The revolution of 1878 boosted the morale of the Nevropolis residents and gave wings to their hopes for independence. The rebels gathered at Messenikolas in order to appoint a provisional administration for the Agrafa district. The rebels issued a declaration with the following text: “we, the residents of the different villages, have assembled together, charged with a special assignment by our villages, to elect the members for the provisional administration of Agrafa, save the Rentina Command. We have elected the following:

We entrust these members with the clear assignment to govern the place according to law, to bespeak our rights before independent Greece and Enlightened Europe, and to act according to what they think proper for the administration of the place, so that we may shake off the unbearable yoke of the Turkish Domination and be united with Mother Greece under the scepter of our beloved and respected King George I”

April 5, 1878, Mesinykola. The rulers of the villages… (signatures).

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