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The Vallahades or Valaades (Βαλαάδες) were a Greek-speaking, Muslim population who lived along the river Haliacmon in southwest Macedonia, in and around Anaselitsa and Grevena. They numbered about 12,000.[1]


History and culture

Ethnographic map of Macedonia (1892). Muslim Greeks are shown in yellow

The Vallahades were descendants of Orthodox Christians who converted to Islam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Their culture, however, did not differ much from that of Christian Greeks. According to Bulgarian geographer Vasil Kanchov's statistics there was 14 373 Greeks Muslims in Macedonia in the end of 19th century.[2] According to Greek statistics from 1904 16 070 Vallahades inhabited the kazas of Anaselitsa (Lyapchishta) and Grevena. [3]

They were wealthy and industrious, which is why their prospective inclusion in the population exchange between Greece and Turkey was opposed by the governor of Kozani. The Vallahades spoke Greek natively and acknowledged their Christian ancestry. Nevertheless, pressure from the local military, the press, and the incoming Greek Orthodox refugees from Anatolia left no chance for the exemption of the Vallahades (who were seen by these groups as 'Turks in soul') from the population exchange. The Vallahades themselves seemed to be willing to move to Anatolia, which took place in 1923.[4] They continued to speak Greek in Turkey, though they have taken a Turkish identity.[5]

Even after their deportation, they continued to celebrate New Year's Day with a Vasilopita, generally considered to be a Christian custom associated with Saint Basil, but they have renamed it a cabbage/greens/leek cake and do not leave a piece for the saint.[6]

The name Vallaades comes from the Turco-Muslim expression vallah 'by God!'. Though some Western travellers speculated that 'Vallaades' is connected to the ethnonym Vlach,[7] this is improbable, as the Vallahades were always Greek-speaking with no detectable Vlach influences.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Haslett, 1927
  2. ^ Васил Кънчов. Македония. Етнография и статистика, София 1900, с. 283-290 (Vasil Kanchov. "Macedonia. Ethnography and statistics. Sofia, 1900, p.283-290).
  3. ^ Κωνσταντίνος Σπανός. "Η απογραφή του Σαντζακίου των Σερβίων", in: "Ελιμειακά", 48-49, 2001.
  4. ^ Population Exchange in Greek Macedonia by Elisabeth Kontogiorgi. Published 2006. Oxford University Press; p.199
  5. ^ Andrews, 1989, p. 103; Friedman
  6. ^ Hasluck, 1927
  7. ^ Gustav Weigand, Alan Wace, and Maurice Thompson
  8. ^ email from researcher Souli Tsetlaka to Stavros Macrakis, Jul 2, 2007


  • Peter Alford Andrews, Rüdiger Benninghaus, eds. Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1989. (cited by Friedman, not seen)
  • Frederick de Jong, "The Greek Speaking Muslims of Macedonia: Reflections on Conversion and Ethnicity", pp. 141-148 in Hendrik Boeschoten, ed., De Turcicis Aliisque Rebus: Commentarii Henry Hofman dedicati Utrecht: Institut voor Oosterse Talen en Culturen, 1992. (cited by Friedman, not seen)
  • Victor A. Friedman, "The Vlah Minority in Macedonia: Language, Identity, Dialectology, and Standardization", pp. 26-50 in Juhani Nuoluoto, Martti Leiwo, Jussi Halla-aho, eds., University of Chicago Selected Papers in Slavic, Balkan, and Balkan Studies (Slavica Helsingiensa 21). Helsinki: University of Helsinki. 2001. full text
  • Margaret M. Hasluck, "The Basil-Cake of the Greek New Year", Folklore 38:2:143 (June 30, 1927) JSTOR

External links



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