The wife of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Betty Baziana laid flowers at the grave of Alexis Zorbas buried in Skopje. Alexis Zorbas whose real first name was “Georgios” was the inspiration for the famous novel of Cretan author Nikos Kazantzakis “Zorba the Greek” and the fictionalized version of mine worker, Georgios Zorbas.
Betty Baziana visited the grave and laid a few red tulips right after her arrival in the North-Macedonian capital on Tuesday morning, where the Prime Minister is paying an official visit.
Zorbas’ grave in Butel cemetery was discovered in 1997.
Zorbas migrated to Skopje in 1930.
“One morning we separated. He moved to the North,” Nikos Kazantakis wrote in his book about Zorbas.
Giorgios Zorbas was a miner, born in 1865 in Kolindros by Thessaloniki under the Ottoman rule. After several jobs in close and broader area in North Greece, he decided to become a monk and left for the Monok’s Republic Mount Athos in 1915.
It was there that he met Nikos Kazantzakis and they became close friends.
Together they went to Mani, South Peloponnese, where they worked as miners in Prastova.
It was their experiences here that Kazantzakis later wrote into The Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas. It is the tale of a young Greek intellectual who ventures to escape his bookish life with the aid of the boisterous and mysterious Alexis Zorba,
The novel later translated as Zorba the Greek and also adapted into Zorba musical (1968) and an Academy Award-nominated film, Zorba the Greek (1964) wherein his role was played by Anthony Quinn.
Zorbas eventful life continued in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, where he settled in 1922 with his 10 years old daughter Katerina.
He bought mines near Niš and near Skopje and began to deal with mining.
He died on September 16, 1941, and was buried in the cementry of Vodno (quarter) near Skopje (then part of the Kingdom of Bulgaria). Because of the change of the urban plans, the bones of Zorbas were transferred in 1954 to the Butel cemetery.