Thessaloniki’s architecture shaped by history (part II)

Following the Antique, the Byzantine and the Ottoman era, comes the neoclassical era.

Even still under the Ottoman domination, by the end of the 19th century the city spreat itself by the seaside and out of the wall. The storekeeper bourgeoisie, mostly Jews and Ottoman, built splendid residences of neoclassical style, whose born under the independence of Greece by the beginning of the 30’s. Nevertheless, the neoclassical architectural style of Thessaloniki is different from Athens’s one : it was influenced by the occidental Art Nouveau as well as the Ottoman style. Sadly, the 60’s-70’s real estate craziness have made disappear many of these sumptuous property. We can still appreciate some beautiful specimens, mainly on the Queen Olga Avenue, most of them became cultural center or public services buildings.

 

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Neoclassical era on Queen Olga Av

Modern era: the fire of 1917 get the city to be devastated at 75%. The Greek government then ask a French architect, Mr.Hebrard) to propose a plan for Thessaloniki by developing a new style. The architect proposed to rebuild the city based on a more spacious plan, while respecting the big axes of communication inherit from the Antiquity. The chosen architectural style was a mix of Art Nouveau and Byzantine art. Unfortunately, there is only the Aristotelous square and the axe of the same name starting from the forum to the sea side were built. This architectural group is remarkable and its style influenced right away the construction of a few commercial buildings or housings here and there in the city. Nevertheless, the 60’s real estate spurt led to give up these styles and many buildings were razed to the ground to build higher and bigger architectural plant, but in an impersonalized occidental style.

At first sight, Thessaloniki can disconcert because of its eclectic architecture dominated by this impersonal style of the 70’s. However, as soon as we show more interest, embrace the breadth of the numerous architectural style present in the city and the history wealth.

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