HISTORY OF THE STORE
STAVROS MELISSINOS - 2nd Generation Sandal Maker and Poet
Georgios Melissinos, Stavros Melissinos’ father, established the store in 1920, at 89 Pandrossou St., at the foot of the Acropolis, in the Monastiraki area -adjacent to the ancient agora of Athens. Back then; Monastiraki was the shoe district as well as the only flea market of Athens (today there are hundreds of them everywhere). According to information provided by an American archaeologist, who worked in Athens and used to visit the “Poet Sandal Maker” thirty years ago, Simon, one of Socrates’ friends, ran his own sandal making business 2,500 years ago on the exact spot where Melissinos’ store happens to be located today. Simon was a philosopher and a poet, just like Stavros Melissinos, so the archaeologist kept saying, jokingly, that Melissinos was either the reincarnation of Simon or even Socrates himself.
From the late 20s to the early 50s the store served as a small-scale
shoe factory that produced rubber-sole shoes -that were meant for hunters
or the working class- in addition to the luxury line of shoes that were
designed for the upper classes (the Queen of Greece used to visit the
store in order to buy her climbing shoes in person). When Georgios Melissinos
passed away, in 1954, his son Stavros inherited a business that was on
the verge of a serious disaster, due to the political and economic turmoil
in post-war Greece. The first tourists appeared, in the early 50s, like
a much-needed drizzle in an arid land and among them was that unknown
foreign elegant lady, who looked like a goddess from a pediment. That
English lady (who was a choreographer) placed an order for the
very first six pairs of Ancient Greek Sandals since the fall of the Ancient Athenian
Republic and then the Beatles came… and then… well, the rest
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE MELISSINOS (also: Melissenos) FAMILY
A noble Greek family of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire that is related to many major Greek and European families. The patrician Michael Melissinos (a relative of emperor Michael I Rangave) and ruler of the eastern part of the empire is regarded as the founder of the Melissinos family (741-775). His sister Evdokia was married to emperor Constantine V.
From the 9th through the11th C.,members of the Melissinos family were mainly lords of various territories, throughout the empire, as well as army leaders. In the 11th C. despot Nikephoros Melissinos was given the title of caesar by emperor Alexios I Comnenus, who also sent Prince Andreas Melissinos to Crete to maintain peace and order. Andreas Melissinos thus became the founder of the Cretan brunch of the family. In 1669, subsequent to a number of unsuccessful uprisings against the occupying ottoman forces, some members of this brunch left Crete for other safer places in Greece. From the 11th through the 13th C. members of the family were important landowners and administrators.
In 1261, prince Alexios Melissinos-Strategopoulos conquered Constantinople and drove away the Latin occupying forces. In the 15th C. (1404-1435) Maria Melissinos (or Melissene) was the duchess of Athens and Gregorios Melissinos who became the patriarch of Constantinople, in 1443, fled to Rome in 1450. In 1572, Makarios Melissinos, archbishop of Epidauros lead a rebellion against the Ottoman rule of Greece. According to some accounts the Melissinos family was also related to the Theotokis or Theotokopoulos family and consequently to Kyriakos (Domenico) Theotokopoulos (El Greco) whose family, after the Otto-man occupation of Constantinople, found shelter in Fodele -the Melissinos domain, in Crete. During the centuries that followed the family gradually lost its high political status and power.