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History of Fur
and the metropolitan union
of Furriers’ Association of Kastoria "The Prophet Elijah"

       The art of fur is inextricably linked to the region of Kastoria, since the years of Ottoman acquisition, counting five centuries of dynamic presence, becoming a turbocharger of the local economy and a catalyst for economic and cultural development.

    Significant commercial activities that Kastorians furriers developed in major urban centers of the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Europe, have given them influence and power beyond the economic one, thus fulfilling a major social contribution to the survival and development of Hellenism.

    In Istanbul, big commercial center of the Ottoman Empire, the work of the guild of furriers is mentioned in the patriarchal Vespers with the address "for the blessed guild of furriers', since both the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem repeatedly received financial assistance from it.

    It is undeniable that the "Roufetion of Gounaraion(Furriers)" was the strongest of all City unions/guilds, particularly in the 17th and 18th century with significant funding for the construction and operation of dozens of Greek schools, the reconstruction of destroyed temples, maintenance and supervision of the monasteries and the promotion of many other public/social works.

    The handicraft industry of fur in Kastoria has a tradition of about 500 years old but is very likely that Kastorians were processing fur skins from time immemorial as the morphology of the region had rich wildlife and an abundance of games. Of course, historical data show that current knowhow of the fur’s processing, was developed from Kastorians, who worked in Istanbul and moved it to Kastoria due to the lake and the abundant water their tanning industry was possible too.

    With the liberalization of trade between the Ottoman State and Central Europe the furriers of Kastoria developed in parallel trade relations with countries outside the Ottoman Empire, especially with new markets such as Venice, Trieste, Leipzig, Paris, London and later in New York. The largest community after the Second World War was created in America with a focus on New York and in Europe with a focus on Frankfurt and Paris.

Furriers’ Association of Kastoria "The Prophet Elijah"

    After the release of Kastoria in 1912 from Ottoman possession, the most historical association of furriers, was founded in 1915, the Kastorian Fur Association "Prophet Elijah", with main purposes its substantial and structural constitution, claiming rights, solving problems, and the development of the fur craft industry. During the period of the war events of the Balkan Wars and the First World War, the industry of fur and mostly furriers of abroad had big damage and the need to be organized into a single, common platform was imperative. The first positive results of this collective effort of the Association are observed at the interwar period as the industry now is in a status of regrouping and recovery. After the destruction of the European economies because of WWII, a new economic period of consumer goods’ demand was signaled and the fur comes back to consumer’s preferences. The furriers with leader the KFA, wanting to expand their commercial activities, understand the need to create a Fur Exhibition in Kastoria. So, in 1976 the first International Fur Exhibition of Kastoria starts with organizer the Kastorian Fur Association (KFA), at temporary premises while they start demanding to create an exhibition center. At the initiative of KFA the company EDIKA SA is founded in 1982 to take function of the new Exhibition Hall – Auction house of Fur of Kastoria, which from 1991 to 2012 hosted the International Fur Exhibition, held every spring with exclusive organizer the KFA. Because this exhibition center (EDIKA), was not sufficient to cover modern exhibition needs of an operational exhibition, the KFA dared and created the new Exhibition Centre of Western Macedonia, in a modern building that meets all the prerequisite requirements of a modern International Fur Exhibition.

    The International Fur Exhibition of Kastoria with the important contribution of Furriers’ Association managed to survive in international competition, and to be established in the minds of buyers around the world, as a high-quality exhibition, of guaranteed purchases and direct service.

    KFA with the 100-year plus experience in the fur industry is a carrier that can fully meet the modern demands of industry and international trade, making Kastoria and Siatista a unique customer attraction to purchase fur products, of excellent quality at producer prices.

    Having as main advantage the modern infrastructure, the expertise and support of furriers, seeks to make Kastoria a permanent exhibition center with constant visiting activity. KFA believes that the emergence of the historicity of an industry, which has offered not only wealth, but also culture, benefaction and patriotism, will be another important advantage, which will provide multiple benefits to both the industry and the local community in the wider region of Western Macedonia.

Ελληνική Ομοσπονδία Γουνας

Konstantinou Furs