Fotis Rapakousis, director of the Museum of Ali Pasha and the Revolutionary Period, was born in the village of Ostanitsa (modern Aidonohori of Konitsa) in 1955. Shortly after his birth, he lost his father to a mine and thus was named after him. He grew up in boarding schools throughout Greece and took on various manual jobs to make ends meet. In 1979, he married Konstantina Kourou and together they started a bakery business in Ioannina in 1980. During that time, he decided that his life goal would be to collect, rescue and repatriate the precious artefacts of his homeland, allocating part of his hard-earned income for this purpose. Along the way, he was fortunate enough to meet and closely bond with renowned archaeologist Sotirios Dakaris, who has had a decisive influence on him. Eventually focusing his interest on the late Ottoman period, Mr. Rapakousis belongs to the category of collectors who take it for granted that their joy of acquiring historical artefacts needs to be shared with the whole world.
A crucial moment in his life has been the acquaintance with scholar, firm enthusiast of Epirus and former mayor of Ioannina, Mr. Anastasios Papastavros, who was the first to realise Fotis Rapakousis’ willingness to exhibit his collection to the public. On the initiative of the Municipality of Ioannina, Fotis Rapakousis’ “Weapons of the Struggle” museum was founded in 2000, which was accommodated in the premises of the Madrasa (Muslim religious school) on the northeastern acropolis of the Castle of Ioannina. Since 2012, part of his collection is exhibited in the “Museum of Ali Pasha and the Revolutionary Period”. During his fruitful journey in collecting, he organises numerous periodical exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
Fotis Rapakousis’ creative course in the field of collecting is justified by his own testimony of how his grandmother, Foteini Pouriki, used to narrate events of the past, which has been the reason behind his love for the culture and history of his country.