MELI KAI KANELA Meli and Kanela is in Nio Horio, on the south side of the castle where the original inhabitants were Cretan settlers. The houses here were built very close together, the one house right next to the other, with small courtyards. On Brantouna Street, leading to the second most important gate of the castle, is one of the first buildings of the area with a history dating back to before 1912, the German occupation, the postwar years, refugees and today characterized as a traditional house below the medieval castle of Chora.
Catherine and her husband Bill Kioulafi, a worker and fisherman, had 4 children, Spyros, Nikolaos, Elias and George, who grew up in this house during the difficult wartime years. During the war, resistance fighters entering from the centre door found food and refuge for a few hours and would later leave from the back door to slip away unseen through the alleys of the castle.This blue door has witnessed a lot. Mrs. Katina sitting in her courtyard in front of the old blue door was always ready to welcome every passerby with homemade sweets.
The attic of the house was the refuge of the children, and particularly Spyros who liked reading and filled it with books. Spyros created here a magical place where he spent many hours writing his beautiful poetry. Later as ‘Fotos Pelagitis’ he became known as a well-know Naxian poet, but his life did not blossom and he died at only 19 years old. Stephen Emm. Psarras says “An especially tragic event is the premature loss of the talented teenager Foto Pelagitis (the literary nickname of Spyros Kioulafi, 1920 – 1939) who lived the ‘Kariotakismo’ in his own skin."
After Spyros’ death, Nicholas went to Athens and then was not heard of again (he probably travelled to America). George became a baker in Athens and Elias was a labourer and fisherman like his father. In this house Elias and Evangelia Kioulafi raised two of their three children, Spiros and George, and grandmother Katina lived with them. Despite the hardship she had lived through, the beauty of her blue eyes would take you back, like the Aegean sea, to the years of innocence and serenity.
The hall was the main area of the house where all the grandmothers of Nio Horio would gather, amongst them ‘Short Maria’, the best friend and neighbor of our grandmother, to grind coffee in the mill and start gossiping. This home lives on through all the people who pass and have passed through it, breathes together with its old wooden doors and partitions, and keeps track of its history and warm secrets inside its thick stone walls.