Barber store in Ohrid

3 minutes to read

Barber stores in 18-19th century in Macedonia, were part of the old bazaars and places where one can dedicate time to grooming their mustaches and shaping their hairstyles. During the Ottoman empire, mustaches and neat beards were a trending fashion, even today we can say that one has a rich mustache like "a Turk” or solid beard like “a Vojovda”(is an Eastern European title that originally denoted the principal commander of a military force). In the Ohrid old bazaar, there is still one place that can offer services to make your mustache and beard neat and flawless. Vedat, one of the oldest barber stores in Ohrid.

Very unusual info: from the Middle Ages is that barbers usually served as surgeons and dentists. In extension to haircutting, hairdressing, and shaving, barbers performed surgery, bloodletting and leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the extraction of teeth; earning them the name "barber-surgeons".

These days, barbers are places where one can get services for the aesthetic improvement of their facial and head hair. Vedat, the one that I am presenting to you in this text, is for sure not an ordinary barber. My male friends from Ohrid developed one ritual of visiting this place together during special times. They promise they don't gossip, but just enjoy a little bit of time on their own. The ritual called grooming at Vedat's was taken as a part of bachelor parties even, just because it offers something like private friendship time. This time, I decided to visit the place accompanying my male friend and I got an insight of the situation.

The Мajstor (master) Vedat is a very pleasant man. He has worked for over 30 years as a barber and this makes him one of the oldest still functioning barber in the Old Bazaar in Ohrid. The one with the intention to use the services of Vedat doesn’t necessarily have to book in advance. Often waiting for a free chair is necessary, part of the beauty is actually in that. You can order Turkish tea from the neighboring store and wait while talking with other people which are also Vedat's customers. Here you can hear about new work offers, or new stores opened in the bazaar. Sometimes you can hear about ones crazy and heavy night out, and sometimes about last night football match. When it is your turn, you will be invited to sit in the chair, bend your head to the front in the sink, and with amazing (described by the users) massage you will get your face and hair washed. After, a warm towel is placed over all-hair and face. Depending on what you are up for, you will get either a haircut, either a face shaving or a mustache/ beard trimming.

The whole procedure ends when Vedat is showing your back with a service mirror, saying “Na zdravje” (in good health, cheering used very often here), and the customer should get up so he can be properly broomed with a small brush.

Vedat was a delightful person with a nice smile. I could feel his enjoyment in following my preferences about my style

One of the many places around in Ohrid that can show you the life here. If this is what you are searching while traveling, bookmark this place!

The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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