Lady Vassiliki

“A beautiful girl was taken from her parents by the Turk-Albanians. She was only 12 and destined for the harem of a man who had turned 61.

Vassiliki was the daughter of Kitsos Kontaxis, a ‘pruhontas’ –privileged rich person having social prestige- of the Plesivitsa area. She was renowned for her beauty, as she was of white complexion, plump, joyful and lively. She remained a Christian till she died. She had three brothers, George, Nicholas and John (a brave young man who later became senior officer of our army).

Growing up in Ali-pasha’s harem, she got to know eminent Greeks, important personalities who educated her and consulted her as a Greek. She associated with personalities like Koletis, Tourtouris, Kolovos, Vilaras, Psalidas. The Greeks of Ali’s court managed not only to educate her, but also to initiate her in the Association of Friends. They were in contact and got informed of some piece of news or action. Since she was the only woman who could calm him down, her beneficial influence over him saved a lot of people. It was her coordinated action with Thanassis Vagias that saved Ioannina from a blow up. Ali-pasha let her keep her faith, for he adored her, and her little shrine in the harem turned out to be a chapel which conducted services.

Following the slaughter of January 1822, she left to Constantinople, and later to Prussa in exile for about seven years. She came back to the independent Greece in 1830, bringing along with her orphan little girls who she had taken under her wings. She raised them as if they were her daughters. One of these, Haricleia, got married and reached to be 93. She was from Demir-Ines, one of Prussa’s suburbs and her accounts reveal important information about her protectress.

Lady Vassiliki died of dysentery at the age of 42. She was buried in the courtyard of Taxiarches Church in Etoliko. She retained till the end her nobility, beauty and dignity.”