Institute for Mediterranean Studies


This project was implemented under the framework of the "Strategic Development Action of Research and Technological Bodies" and funded by the Operational Programme "Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation" (EPAnEK) under the NSRF 2014-2020, with the co-sponsor European Union (European Regional Development Fund).

"Mediterranean Cultural Landscapes" was implemented under the framework of the "Strategic Development Action of Research and Technological Bodies"

The project "METOPO: Mediterranean Cultural Landscapes" was implemented under the framework of the "Strategic Development Action of Research and Technological Bodies" and funded by the Operational Programme "Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation" (EPAnEK)  under the NSRF 2014-2020, with the co-sponsor European Union (European Regional Development Fund).

It is part of the strategic development plan of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies and the Foundation for Research and Technology — Hellas (FORTH) and aims to contribute to the interdisciplinary approach of the cultural landscapes of the Mediterranean and their change over time. The project aims to highlight various perspectives of the spatial, economic, residential and cultural landscape in the Eastern Mediterranean by applying an interdisciplinary approach, thus developing basic research in a number of fields of humanities and giving a historical dimension to the concept of landscape.

The primary object of the Institute's research programs, as its name implies, is the Mediterranean area, with an emphasis usually on its eastern part. From many and varied perspectives and methodological starting points, the IMS programs examine precisely historical phenomena of this area: from anthropogenic interventions in the landscape to the continuations and intersections between the productive processes, and from the cultural movements between the large historical units of the region. to the roads that connect them (naval, commercial, cultural) or the borders that separate them. From this point of view it is not necessarily the field of geography: it is a network in which every point (city, port, rural hinterland, even art school or cultural production center) is signified by its relations with the other points - economic relations , social, political, cultural. Although of course it is not an interpretive tool, this concept of space may be useful as it allows the use of various tools (such as Henri Lefebvre's production methods) in non-geographical contexts, for example the perception that a society has. for its past or present. This relational conception of space, which we call here landscape (scape), can be considered as a connecting link that unites the different approaches served in the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, always applying to the specific geographical definition of the eastern Mediterranean and its wider region. . The most specific contribution of this proposal, in relation to the scientific fields served at the Institute, is the emphasis on historical change: the landscape, with all the meanings described above, is not considered a static network of points, but a process that is constantly evolving in historical time, in constant interaction with the economic, social and cultural environment, and whose temporal dimension is as important as the spatial one.

Based on the above, the theme "Mediterranean cultural landscapes of the past" can explore new methodological tools and their use by different research objects, as well as highlight the common background of the Institute's different activities: the Mediterranean as a place of interactions, sections and continuities, in other words as a set of relationships (productive, social, political and cultural) placed on the axis of time. Finally, the interdisciplinary approach that characterizes the activities of the Foundation for Research and Technology — Hellas is served by the collaboration with two other Institutes of FORTH, the Institute of Computer Science and the Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, which apply innovative practices of analysis, synthesis and presentation of cultural data.

The METOPO operation proposes the detection and analysis of the concept, creation and depiction of the landscape as described above, with the methods of history and social sciences. More specifically, the program focuses on:

  • the transformation of the man-made landscape in times of crisis and change, through the study of housing and economic changes in selected areas of Greece,
  • the study of cultural networks, which are constantly changing landscapes, with cultural exchange routes and the transfer of center of gravity being the focus,
  • innovative approaches to the concept of landscape, such as soundscapes,
  • in the depiction of the natural and man-made landscape and the parameters that determine it,
  • in collaboration with other institutes of FORTH (Institute of Computer Science, Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics), in the use of new tools for the study, analysis and depiction of the man-made landscape.

With the implementation of the operation:

  • Innovative research tools will be developed for the study of the historical site and unknown aspects of the research objects will be highlighted.
  • Osmosis and the interdisciplinary approach between scientists from different fields of science and social sciences will be encouraged.
  • Young scientists will be introduced to the research, who will broaden their scientific horizon and will help in their professional rehabilitation.
  • The scientific research will be presented in an intelligible way to the general public, as its results and its importance for the understanding of the present will be promoted through various publicity actions.

The project METOPO is structured into 9 research actions, which include actions of publicity-dissemination of the results to the general public. Each research activity concerns a specific research field and is managed by the respective regular staff of the participating institutes or by collaborating faculty members. Each action consists of distinct actions, which will be implemented based on a specific timetable and will help to draw common conclusions for each research area and their dissemination to the scientific community and the general public.

The research actions are evolving in parallel in respective Work Packages and are as follows:

Scientific coordinator: Christina Tsigonaki

Scientific coordinators: Elias Kolovos (IMS), Chrysoula Bekiari (ICS), Poulikos Prastakos (IACM)

Candia (in Greek Chandakas, old name for the city of Heraklion in Crete) is a city with a long history. The project will focus on the analysis of some of its characteristics in the 15th-18th centuries at the time of the transition from the Venetian to the Ottoman rulers.  After a twenty years siege Candia was occupied by the Ottomans in 1669.  Various archival sources provide a complete picture of the city: the TT 980 register, compiled immediately after the occupation of the city (1669/70), contains the list of Orthodox Christians and Jews who remained in Candia and paid capital tax on the basis of their property. Even more important is the register TT 798, in which the houses and land parcels of Candia in every district are documented.

The research will focus on the history of the city of Candia; it will study the ratio of public and private space, the land uses and water networks, the population by religion in different neighborhoods etc. Using available historical maps and registers the Venetian city will be mapped and digital files will be created with precise information on the boundaries of the different land parcels and their characteristics (ownership, information on the characteristics of the structure etc.).  The gradual transformation of the city under the Ottoman rule will be studied, as well as, the evolution of the city afterwards.

Another significant research area will be the analysis of the locational patterns of the population of Crete (urban and rural) during the Ottoman occupation. The analysis will use data available in the "Digital Crete – at the times of the Ottomans - Housing" database, developed at IMS, that has information from various various/censuses conducted in Crete during the Ottoman occupation (1650 to 1897).  The primary focus of the analysis will be the differentiation of the locational patterns of the Christian vs the Muslim population.

More specifically the research to be carried out includes:

  • Using data from TT 798, compilation of a database for the districts of Candia. The database will include information on the boundaries of the various parcels of land, their area, other descriptive information (number of rooms, yards, outbuildings, trees, wells, water tanks), name of owners (former and new), as well as, sale prices of real estate.  These data will be supplemented with information from the codes of the Turkish Archive of Heraklion. The research will be implemented at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies (IMS) of FORTH.
  • Design and implementation of the digital infrastructure for supporting the documentation of the history of the built man-made space of the city of Candia. The infrastructure developed will use maps and other and other multifaceted material. The digital infrastructure will use the data developed by IMS and will be based on the Synthesis 3.0 software. The research will be implemented at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) of FORTH.
  • Documentation in a digital file of various historical maps of the old town of Candia (Venetian and urban maps of the 19th century) so that they can be available for further research. The maps will be georeferenced and a database will be developed with information on the date they were created, the cartographer, the map collection they belong to and other characteristics of the map. Additionally, the geographic characteristics and the events portrayed on the map will be documented so that they can be related to other historical records. The research will be implemented at the Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics (IACM) of FORTH.
  • Analysis of the locational patterns of the population of Crete (urban and rural) during the Ottoman occupation.  The analysis will use the data from the "Digital Crete – at the times of the Ottomans - Housing" database that contains data from different registers/censuses for the period 1650-1897. The analysis will focus primarily on the locational patterns of the Christian and Muslim population and will be carried out at the settlement, municipality and prefecture geographic levels. The research will be implemented at the Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics (IACM) of FORTH.

Institute of Mediterranean Studies
Scientific coordinator: Elias Kolovos
Research team: Efthymios Machairas, Evita Dandali, Dimitris Giatzoglou, Petros Kastrinakis

Institute of Computer Science
Scientific coordinator: Chrysoula Bekiari
Research team: Demetris Aggelakis, George Samaritakis, Lida Charami

Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics
Scientific coordinator: Poulicos Prastacos
Research team: Eleni Gadolou, Evita Dandali

Scientific coordinator: Apostolos Delis

Research subject and objectives:

  • The development of port systems and the improvement of port infrastructure have been fundamental to the growth of maritime trade and shipping in the eastern Mediterranean from the mid-19th century onward. In this pattern of economic development, regions of the Aegean and the Black Sea were inextricably linked. In this context is included the development of the Greek-owned fleet that carried a significant part of the Black Sea trade and formed the shipping centers of Ermoupolis, Piraeus and maritime communities in smaller places (Chios, Andros, Santorini).
  • However, the evolution of the volume of trade in the ports of the Aegean did not keep pace with the evolution of port infrastructure. The improvement of port infrastructure was lagging behind, and issues of state policy, economic nature and know-how did not help to synchronize with the needs of ever-increasing volume of shipping.
  • Therefore, the questions that researchers are asked to consider are: a) the phases of development of port infrastructure and the factors that contributed in this direction, b) how this affects and determines the position of each port in the international port network and  maritime transport system and c) how the two above shape the character of the port (export, transit, etc.) and consequently the economic and social landscape of the inhabitants in relation to the professions and activities (development of factories, shipyards, real estate services, etc.).

Scientific coordinator: Leda Papastefanaki

This research project aims at deepening the understanding in the history of mining activities and the formation of the mining landscapes in Greece during 19th-20th centuries.

The research “Mining Landscapes in Greece, 19th-20th c.” aims at deepening the understanding in the history of mining activities and the formation of the mining landscapes in Greece during 19th-20th centuries. The research, by making use of a rich archival material both in Greece and abroad, highlights the specific elements of mining landscapes and the relations with the international technical and entrepreneurial networks in Eastern Mediterranean. The Greek case should be examined in a comparative perspective within the broader context of the Mediterranean and the Ottoman Empire.

Related publications by the scientific coordinator

  • Leda Papastefanaki, Η φλέβα της γης. Τα μεταλλεία της Ελλάδας, 19ος-20ός αιώνας, [The veins of the earth: The mines of Greece, nineteenth-twentieth century], Vivliorama Publishing, Athens 2017.
  • Leda Papastefanaki, «Από τα ορυκτά για το Γ΄ Ράιχ στα ορυκτά για την «άμυνα της Δύσεως». Η εξορυκτική δραστηριότητα στην Ελλάδα, 1941-1966», [“From the ores for the Third Reich to the ores for the “defence for the West”. Mining activity in Greece, 1941-1966”], Τα Ιστορικά 57 (2012), p. 367-408 [in Greek].
  • Leda Papastefanaki, “Greece has been endowed by nature with this precious material …” The Economic History of the Bauxite in the European Periphery in the 20th century», R. Gendron, M. Ingulstad, E. Storli (eds.), Aluminum Ore: The Political Economy of the Global Bauxite Industry, Vancouver 2013, p. 158-184.
  • Leda Papastefanaki, “From Santorini to Trieste and Suez: ‘Discovery’ and Use of the Theran Earth in the Mediterranean (from the end of the 18th century to the beginnings of the 20th century)”, Mediterranean Historical Review 33/1 (2018, forthcoming).

Scientific coordinator: Leda Papastefanaki
Research team: Yannis Gonatidis, Claire Tsakiris

Scientific coordinator: Socrates Petmezas

This Research Project is based on the use of the recently available Archives of the Ministry of Agriculture (founded 1917). The archives will finally permit a detailed research on the actual implementation of the land reform and its economic, social and political impact both on a national and a local level.

Research Hypothesis 

The Land Reform entailed a profound transformation of the rural landscape, either directly (management or radical upgrade of the land settlement and landscape, transformation of the agrarian system) or indirectly (public works on transports, water management and land amendment), but it also transformed deeply the social and political landscape. The rural economic and spatial structures were reshaped in close conjunction locally with the englobing social and political hierarchies. The landlords and the traditional provincial elite were complemented (if not substituted) by new social actors: the agronomists, the lawyers representing the cooperatives of the allottees, the judges of first instance, the leadership of rural cooperatives and the local executives of the National and Agricultural Banks. New models of social inter-mediation and political representation of the rural population were molded and new patterns of action and mobilisation emerged, while the local/provincial political field was rearranged and a new playbook with novel rules of game crystallized.

Scientific coordinator: Socrates Petmezas
Research team: Dimitris Angelis Dimakis, Evangelos Panayotis Drougoutis, Giorgos Gasias

Scientific coordinator: Panayotis K. Ioannou

This research programme is a continuation of the programme “Greek artists in the West (15th-18th century)”. It examines the pursuits of Greek artists who settled in various cities of the Italian peninsula and became engaged in its artistic developments, but did not cut their ties with Greece.

The cases of these artists have never been systematically studied up to now, the bibliography awarding them only with fleeting references. These artists’ fields of activities comprise the according themes for research: studies in Italian Art Academies, artistic production (including the relations with their commissioners), exhibitions (in Italy and elsewhere), writing texts on theory and practice. The same programme incorporates the annotated publication of the, up to now unknown, manuscript “On Painting (Peri Zografias)”, kept in the State Archives of Greece. Probably written in Venice towards the end of the 18th century, this codex attempts to convey artistic ideas and practices from the relative, mostly Italian treatises.

Scientific coordinator: Panayotis K. Ioannou (Associate Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art History, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete)
Research team Antonis Digalakis (Postgraduate student, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete)

Scientific coordinator: Constantina Georgiadi

The aim of this research project is to trace, record and process the landscapes of the wandering actors and actresses in the wider Mediterranean region and the Black Sea and to investigate the artistic and cultural interactions between the Greek and the European theatre from about mid-nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth.

The Greek peninsula, at the crossroads of East and West, constituted a standard traveling destination for a remarkable number of artists of international reputation during the nineteenth century. Already in the mid-nineteenth century, famous Western actors began to include Athens, Smyrna, Constantinople, Alexandria and Cairo in their tours, transferring their artistic experience and practice, their repertoire, their stage and acting skills. European artists such as Adelaide Ristori, Ernesto Rossi, Coquéline, Sarah Bernard, Eleonora Duse, Mouné Sully, André Antoine and a number of equal or less important theater practicians of the European theater, mainly Italian, German and French, were presented on the Greek stage from about mid-nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. The aim of this research project is to trace, record and process the landscapes of the wandering actors and actresses in the wider Mediterranean region and the Black Sea and to investigate the artistic and cultural interactions between the Greek and the European theatre.

Relevant publications

Constantina Georgiadi, “Shakespearean actor Ernesto Rossi in the Southern Balkan Peninsula: the reception of his craftsmanship in the Modern Greek State”, Etudes Balkaniques  4 (2014) 115-137.

Scientific coordinator: Constantina Georgiadi
Research team: Vasiliki Papanikolaou, Marilou Nikolaou, Markela Iliaki, Marianna Tziraki

Scientific responsible: Andreas Lyberatos

The few but significant researches conducted in other areas of the globe have stressed the fact that the sounds of the preindustrial cities constituted semiotic systems of orientation in the urban space and time, with important social and ideological functions. In an earlier research on "Time and the mechanical means of its measurement", Andreas Lyberatos has detected a first notable corpus of evidence about the soundscape of the Ottoman Balkan city and the normative framework that structured it (e.g. prohibition of bells in the Christian churches). 

The objectives of the research are the examination of the framework within which the sound experiences were produced and made meaningful in the Balkan and Mediterranean cities from the 18th to the beginnings of the 20th c., the study of the way the urban sounds were perceived and experienced before and after the transition to the modern city, as well the intervention of the authorities and the dwellers in the production of the city soundscape. 

The soundscape will be approached as a dimension of the urban space that is produced in three interwoven fields: of "sound practices", of the representations, discourses and rules regarding the public sounds, and finally in the field of experiencing the public sound -in which the issue of the soundscape as a field of social negotiation and conflict will be dealt with.

Scientific responsible: Andreas Lyberatos
Research team: Anna Krinaki, Giorgos Manios, Thanos Aggelopoulos

Scientific responsible: Evgenios D. Matthiopoulos

The project aims at the systematic recording and study of the pictorial production (paintings, prints and photographs) of the Greek natural landscape from the 18th to the 20th century.

In Greek academic literature, contrary to the international one, there are few studies on how landscape is depicted in the visual arts or on the concept of “landscape” and the historicity of its uses and meanings. However, this lack of research in Greek landscape painting is disproportionate to the attention that the concepts of land and landscape have received at times in relation to the formulation and legitimization of ethnocentric theories and identities, especially those connected to the various versions of “Greekness”, and conceptual representations and stereotypes that visualize the notions of motherland, nation, place of origin and so on. In this context, the project aims at the systematic recording and study of the pictorial production (paintings, prints and photographs) which is related to the Greek natural landscape from the 18th to the 20th century.

The research project is based on three axes:

Ι. The recording of the artistic production that reflects the transition from the imaginary-classical landscape, as it had been originally developed in the 17th century, to the landscape of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, that combines imaginary-ideal representations with the emergence of an interest in archaeology, the journey to Greece, the movement of philhellenism and the first exact topographic depictions of Greek landscape by travelers and painters-travelers. The main research question of this axis of the project is in what way the largely imaginary visual representations of the Greek landscape by Western artists have contributed to the shaping of the pattern of an ideal landscape; in other words, the main question is to what extent these early representations have determined the options, the reception and the rendering of the Greek landscape in the realistic landscape representations that followed.

ΙΙ. The recording and study of landscape representations by the most important Greek and foreign artists after the establishment of the Greek state, when, in the context of the policies that it adopted while organizing itself according to modern European standards, fine arts were systematically cultivated following the aesthetic-artistic tendencies of Western art. The main research questions of this axis are: a) how the interest in landscape painting has been expressed through the reception of the dominant aesthetic and stylistic standards of European art (neoclassicism, academicism, realism, impressionism, symbolism, cubism, expressionism, land art, etc.), shaping and reshaping the relevant conceptual-visual rules of representation of the Greek landscape; b) what is the use and the very meaning of the term “Greek landscape” or “landscape of the Greek land”, taking into consideration the continuous expansion of the territory and the gradual establishment of the institutional framework of the Greek state during the 19th and 20th century.

ΙΙΙ. The recording of photography that has been associated with both the landscape production and the procedures of recording and disseminating information through the mass media. Photography has become a necessary tool for travelers, scientists, artists, tourists, state institutions, etc. The main research question of this axis is how since the mid-19th century the wide use and circulation of photographs has dramatically modified the visual perception of space and led to the establishment of a new visual language, whose impact has been decisive for contemporary postmodern societies, bearing socio-political, economic, scientific and aesthetic meanings.


  • Α bilingual (Greek-English) database of works of art that represent the Greek landscape of the period from the 18th to the end of the 20th century (paintings, engravings, photographs).
  • Publications in academic journals by the members of the project team, based on material collected in the context of the project.


Scientific responsible: Evgenios D. Matthiopoulos
Research team: Titina Kornezou, Poppy Sfakianaki, Marianna Karali, Myrto Geroulanou, Anna Adraskela

Project Team

Marinos Sariyannis

Marinos Sariyannis

Research Director, Department Coordinator of Ottoman History
Curriculum vitae