Evzoni

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Another gorgeous Greek card from the very sweet Milda. 🙂

The Evzones, or Evzoni,  is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Presidential Guard, an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Mansion and the gate of Evzones camp in Athens. The Evzones are also known, colloquially, as Tsoliades.

The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The present-day ceremonial uniform consists of the following items:

  • Farion (φάριον), a scarlet fez with a long black silk tassel, with the national emblem on the front.
  • Doulamas (plural: doulamades) (ντουλαμάς, plural: ντουλαμάδες), a long tunic which is the everyday uniform. There are winter and summer versions. The basic color of the winter doulamas is navy blue and it closely resembles the service uniform worn until 1910, while the summer version is light khaki, and similar in design to the field uniform adopted by the Evzone regiments after that date.
  • Foustanella (φουστανέλα), a cotton kilt made from 30 meters of white cloth, with 400 pleats (Greek: πιέτες), representing the 400 years of Ottoman occupation. The foustanella derives from the traditional uniform of Continental Greece.
  • Ypodetes (υποδήτης), a white shirt with very wide sleeves.
  • Fermeli (φέρμελη), the waistcoat. Various traditional designs are embroidered on it in white or gilt thread. The yellow stripes (if any) indicate the military rank of the wearer. Sergeants have two stripes and corporals have one.
  • Krossia (κρόσσια), fringes in blue and white, the colors of the Greek flag.
  • Epiknemides (επικνημίδες), unofficially called kaltsodetes (καλτσοδέτες), the garters. They are made of black silk.
  • Periskelides (περισκελίδες), white woollen stockings, two on each leg.
  • Anaspastos (Greek: ανάσπαστος), inside garter which holds the periskelides in position.
  • Tsarouchia (τσαρούχια, singular: τσαρούχι), red leather clogs with black pompons (φούντες, foundes; singular: φούντα, founda). Under the sole, depending on the size, there are 60 to 120 nails. On average each tsarouchi weighs 3.5 kilos.
  • A black leather cartridge belt which has a bayonet belt holder case.
  • When it is very cold the Evzones wear a dark blue cape (κάπα).
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