• Porfira
    Kissamos Seaside Tavern
  • Porfira
    Kissamos Seaside Tavern

WHAT IS PORFYRA

Porfyra (or Murex) is also a sea snail with the scientific name - "Haustellum brandaris" which was used in ancient times to produce an indelible, deep red dye.

This dye was always very valuable as it was extremely difficult to prepare, and the snails from which it was obtained were rare and difficult to find. So, as far back as classical antiquity, clothes which were dyed with porfyra were a sign of wealth and power.
Because of this, porfyra was used, amongst other things, to dye clothes worn by kings and emperors. The clothes worn by the ancient Spartans, the Despots of Mystras and the Roman and Byzantine emperors are particularly famous. After all, children who were born when their father was emperor were born in a special room with purple walls called the "Porfyra", and these children are described as being “porphyrogennetos” or “born in the purple”. 

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According to the custom of the time, the Emperor’s newborn children were placed on purple cloth and the walls of their rooms were coloured purple. Also, during battles, the leaders of the army wore clothes dyed with porfyra so that if they were wounded during the battle, the blood would not be visible and the morale of the army would not drop.

The shellfish were collected throughout the year and kept in tanks (porphyreia) filled with sea water. At a specific time of the year, around May, the shells were pierced at a specific point, and the porfyra was collected drop by drop. The porfyra which was collected in this way was processed to produce the dye known as PORFYRA.
The traditional, family taverna "Porfyra" in Nopigia, Kissamos owes its name to this unique, deep red colour.