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Culture Folk Culture - People Traditional Vocations Larissa

Sac carrier in Penios river(Larissa 1906-1910)
(Photo: Archive L.Gourgioti)
Sac carrier in Penios river after 1950
(Photo: Archive of Smartening - Educative Club of Filipoupoli)

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The sac-carriers


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For the water supply of city till the beginning of 20th century existed special water-carriers, who were referred to as water carriers or sac-carriers. They took water from Pinios river, charged it onto horses and sold it.

The water was taken from the part of the river that entered the city and from the central current, in order to be as clean as possible. For the easier transportation of the water, stone paved platforms, referred to as “stairs”, had been constructed since the middle ages at three points in the city.

Next, the water that was taken in this way was loaded inside leather sacs with a capacity of 40-50 kilos. Animals carried the sacs to the neighbourhoods of the city. The water sellers touted the water just like the other sellers touted their merchandise. Later, the water was transported inside small tuns or barrels made of zinc and hauled by horse-carts.

The steps they took for the cleaning of water were primitive. The sac carriers were putting at the orifices of the sacs a bunch of leaves or plants, that would serve like filters and would withhold sand and other foreign matters from the water. For the microbes there wasn’t any way of protection.

This water could not be used immediately. People had to put it inside big jars and then to put the jars in the ground up to the neck, in order for the water to remain cool in summer and not to frost in winter. After a couple of days, the sand and the other foreign matters settled. At the same time, people poured some alum, hoping to sterilize the water, something that was impossible.

The sac carriers had been organized as a professional class and they had gained privileges. They had also acquired some power. They were obliged to take part in fire extinguishments, by carrying water.