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  • 04 Jan 2019

    Cloudy 4°C 1°C

  • 05 Jan 2019

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JEWISH ROUTE

 

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki has been present for more than 21 centuries, bearing the unique characteristic among the other Jewish communities worldwide, of not being just a minority community, but in certain periods in time, it was the first population in the city, especially after 1492. The first Jewish may have arrived in Thessaloniki around 140 B.C. from Alexandria, Egypt, the so-called Romaniotes Jewish, having beforehand adopted the Greek language and the Hellenistic culture. In 1376 the Jewish Askenazim, after the pogroms in Hungary and Germany, settled in Thessaloniki, followed by those of Provence, Italy and Sicily. The arrival of almost 20,000 Jewish deported from Spain was the one that altered the face of the city. Through their skills and abilities, the Hispano-Jewish, the so-called ‘Sephardites’, revived the wounded Thessaloniki, after its conquest by the Ottomans and contributed to its commercial and economic growth in the following centuries. It’s remarkable that in 1870 the 50,000 Jewish residents constituted 56% of the Thessalonian population, while in 1941, 36 Synagogues were fully functioning. The year 1943 marks the beginning of the end of the Jewish presence in Thessaloniki when 46,091 Jewish were led to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, only to return 1950 of them. Worldwide leading figures in science, literature, business, politics, fashion etc., descent from the booming Jewish community of Thessaloniki, such as Nikolas Sarkozy, ex-president of France, Patrick Modiano, Nobel prize winner in literature in 2014, the Dassault family, owners of the French conglomerate in aerospace, software and media sectors, the Carasso family of Danone industry, the philosopher, writer and sociologist Edgar Morin, the mathematician Raphael Salem, the fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, the hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, and many others. Three Synagogues, the Jewish Museum, the hospital and the arcades, as well as, some of the most beautiful and luxurious mansions of the city, mark the significant Jewish presence in Thessaloniki’s past.

The Jewish theme route narrates a story about, not only the city’s Jewish community, but also Thessaloniki itself. This story is left to be told by the great Absentees…. 

The balkan wars museum building

The building that today houses the Balkan Wars Museum is the main building of the farm created by Yako Modiano in 1906. The Modiano family was one of the richest…
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Malakopi Arcade

The impressive building in 'Frangomachalas' of Thessaloniki is a work of the Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli and was built in 1906 on behalf of Allatini family, one of the most powerful Jewish families in Thessaloniki. It…
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Ouziel Complex

It is a nostalgic touch from Thessaloniki of the past a complex of one-storey houses, gardens full of roses and scent of mandarin, in one of the most beautiful districts of the city,…
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Villa Mordoch

The beautiful house was built in 1905 for the Turkish divisional commander Seifoulach Pasha, designed by architect Xenophon Paionidis with dominant characteristic the coexistence of Neo-classical, Renaissance, Baroque and Art…
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Salem Mansion (former Italian Consulate)

The luxurious residence, characteristic example of neo-Baroque eclecticism, was built in 1878, designed by Xenophon Paionidis on behalf of the French Jew Jeborga. In 1894, it was sold to the distinguished Jewish lawyer Emmanuel…
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