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Crete Dagers


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#1 redape

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 04:59 PM

Hi All, can anyone advise where traditional Crete dagers are still made? many thanks. Red

#2 Angela

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 09:10 PM

I'd like to add to this question, is there any truth to the "stories" I've heard that a daggar is called "mpitzak or bitzak"? I was told that my last name "Pitsakis" which used to be "Mpitsakis (Bitsakis)" before removal of the Mi means knife or daggar maker. I was also told that there is a place where you can find many shops with the name Pitsakis and where they sell daggars, among others things I suppose. Thanks.

#3 yannis_s

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 09:13 PM

There are shops in all big towns where they sell the daggers of Crete. In Chania there is an area close to the port, which is called after them: Machairadika. There you will find plenty of daggers.
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#4 Yorgos

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 04:06 AM

In Chania you will find most of the Cretan knife makers and their shops in Sifaka Street, the area that Yannis mentioned above as the “Machairadika”. One of the older traditional makers is the “Armenis” who has two shops facing each other on Sifaka street. He is very good, I looked for awhile at their offerings but personally I found them too expensive and too “Touristy” for my liking. Eventually I found somebody away from the tourist area that makes a product that is traditional, of high quality, and in my opinion an excellent example of a true Cretan knife. Expect to pay more that 400 euros and most likely you will need to put an order and pick it up in 12 months later as I did. He is located in the street behind the KTEL bus station in Chania. You will not fail to find him.Attached File  IMG_5861_resized.jpg   48.88KB   180 downloads

#5 Yorgos

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 04:45 AM

I'd like to add to this question, is there any truth to the "stories" I've heard that a daggar is called "mpitzak or bitzak"? I was told that my last name "Pitsakis" which used to be "Mpitsakis (Bitsakis)" before removal of the Mi means knife or daggar maker. I was also told that there is a place where you can find many shops with the name Pitsakis and where they sell daggars, among others things I suppose. Thanks.


Angela,

There is (or was) an area in Iraklion where they made and sold Cretan knives, which was called “Mpitsaxidika” which most likely is made up of the word “Mpitsak”or similar and “–idika” indicating an area where you find such items. There is a similar named area in Rethymnos. Unfortunately I could not locate the word “Mpitsak”or similar amongst the limited Cretan words reference material that I have. May be somebody else with access to a full Cretan word dictionary could assist.

#6 yannis_s

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 11:54 AM

This discussion became very interesting to me because I remembered that there is the greek verb 'mpichno' and it means 'stab with a knife or a sharp object'. There are also the words 'mpihti and 'mpikizo'.
All these must have a common root with the turkish word 'bitsak' which indeed means knife, according to the Dictionary of the Dialect of Eastern Crete by Manolis Pittikakis. Pittikakis also mentions the word 'mpitsaxis' which comes from bitsak and it means, the man who makes knives. This is why there used to be an area in Heraklion called 'Mpitsaxidika' as Yorgos mentions.
I did more research and it looks like the origin of all above words is the ancient greek verb 'pignimi' (), which means 'nail' (verb) or 'construct'.

Read all about the Cretan Dagger here: http://www.explorecr...etan-dagger.htm
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#7 lars

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 02:36 PM

Sorry I cannot remember the name of the street but in the parallel street (with one of the minarets) to the street Tsouderon behind Agora in Chania you will find a small shop where daggers are made and sold.
You can enter and have a look how they are made.
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#8 Angela

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 09:31 PM

Thanks Yorgos and Yannis for your research and replies. I suppose my Uncle was right then... perhaps one of my ancestors was a "man who made knives". Very interesting to read about the historical and cultural significance of the Kritiki maxairi also.

#9 Yorgos

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 09:02 AM

Yannis,

I finally discovered that in western Crete the Cretan knife is also known as “basalis”, in Greek , most probably having the same derivation from the Turkish “bitsak” as you mentioned a couple of days ago!

Etymology is indeed a fascinating subject!