The squares of Aromanian settlements from The Pindus Mountains, Greece

Legend has it that whenever they wanted to build a village, the wandering shepherds of the Pindus chose a place and planted a tree. If the tree – which they passed by at least twice a year with their herds – grew well, they would, in time build there a settlement, with the tree as its heart. All the Aromanian settlements in the Pindus have a square and all of them have an ancient tree at their centre. The locals call the square the plateia, platia, mishori or mesohori. These gather around them all the important buildings in the life of the community. The church, the school, the fountain, the cafes, all of these are found in the square. Or, rather, they define the square. Where they are the square is as well. It is a spatial, architectural definition, but especially social and anthropological, for this is the place where all important events that are important for the community take place. For this reason, before having an architectural definition, the square has an anthropological definition. These are not squares meant to be seen, but squares where something must happen. Their main function is not at all aesthetically, but social. And what happens is, in brief, the story of the community which must function as a whole.