The tradition of building Greek wooden boats known as 'Kaikia' will continue, thanks to a new program funded by Greece's Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The Vocational Training and Apprenticeship Program in Carpentry was revealed during a teleconference held by Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, the President of the Department of Mathematics at the University of the Aegean Professor Andreas Papasalouros, researcher of the history of carpentry Dr Costas Damianidis, and the Head of the Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage of Greece Willy Fotopoulou.
"The preservation of the valuable knowledge of carpentry imposes its protection but also its promotion in the modern educational, economic and social environment," Mendoni said.
“The new apprenticeship structure will contribute to the preservation and promotion of the art of carpentry, to the creation of new jobs, specialised staff, to the social and economic development of local communities."
It is a millennia-old tradition of building wooden boats by hand. Guided by its preservation, the Ministry of Culture and Sports included the art form in the National Index of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.
“The rescue of woodworking art and tradition and its rebirth in a modernising context is directly intertwined with the cultural identity of a naval nation, such as Greece," the minister added.
In the last 25 years alone, about 11,000 of these iconic Greek boats have been lost, many of which were remnants of the ancient shipbuilding traditions.