The arrival of tens of thousands of Jewish settlers swelled Thessaloniki's population at the end of the 15th century. In some cases, the Jewish districts took their name from the nearest synagogue, in others they mapped the Community's lost homelands: Pulia (Apulia), Castilia, Calabria, Lisbon, and so forth.
The Jewish neighbourhoods of modern Thessaloniki
Community worship was conducted in spare, simple buildings so as to provide no pretext for persecution. The oldest synagogue was the Ets Chaim, while the Talmud Tora -- an important religious, education and social centre from 1520 up to the early 20th century -- was famous throughout Europe.