The constitutional reforms (Tanzimat) put in place in 1839 to modernise the Ottoman state affected the entire spectrum of social life, and especially economic growth. In Macedonia were to be found the largest urban centres in the European part of the Empire (apart from Constantinople) as well as its most important port, Thessaloniki. A large number of public buildings were erected here from the late 19th century to 1913.
The non-Greek populations competed by erecting their own buildings, in order to emphasise their presence. The Greek communities founded a vast number of schools, hospitals, and bishop's residences, and the wealthier members erected commercial and industrial establishments, hotels and villas.
There was a major change in architectural style: the design and construction of buildings was now undertaken by architecture graduates, and foreign styles like eclecticism and neo-classicism were adopted.