12 Facts About Arvanites


Arvanites are a bilingual population group in Greece of Albanian origin.

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The name Arvanites originally referred to the inhabitants of that region, and then to all Albanian-speakers.

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The word Shqiptar is used in a few villages of Thrace, where Arvanites migrated from the mountains of Pindus during the 19th century.

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Today, regions with a strong traditional presence of Arvanites are found mainly in a compact area in southeastern mainland Greece, namely across Attica, southern Boeotia, the north-east of the Peloponnese, the south of the island of Euboea, the north of the island of Andros, and several islands of the Saronic Gulf including Salamis, Hydra, Poros, Agistri and Spetses.

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In recent times, Arvanites had only very imprecise notions about how related or unrelated their language was to Albanian.

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Since Arvanitika is almost exclusively a spoken language, Arvanites have no practical affiliation with the Standard Albanian language used in Albania, as they do not use this form in writing or in media.

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Arvanites were regarded as ethnically distinct from the Greeks until the 19th century.

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Many Arvanites find the designation "Albanians" offensive as they identify nationally and ethnically as Greeks and not Albanians.

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In recent times, Arvanites have expressed mixed opinions towards Albanian immigrants within Greece.

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In post-dictatorial Greece, the Arvanites have rehabilitated themselves within Greek society through for example the propagation of the Pelasgian theory regarding Arvanite origins.

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Arvanites were organised in phares mostly during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.

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Traditional clothing of Arvanites included distinctive attire that sometimes identified them in past times as Arvanites from other neighbouring populations.

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