The first neighbourhood to be planned outside the walls, thus representing the new European Thessaloniki, was that of Pirgoi (mansions). Greek and foreign architects, educated in Europe and Constantinople, built luxurious villas here for wealthy Jews, Greeks, Turks, Donmeh and Franco-Levantines (Europeans who had long made their home in the Ottoman Empire).
The waterfront villas even had small private jetties from which to bathe in summer. Artisans connected with the building trades came to Thessaloniki on a seasonal basis, as had the old guilds. Among them the master builder G. Siagas and his sons stand out; they constructed the Casa Bianca and the Red Mansion for the Georgiadis family from Siatista.
The Allatini were the most distinguished family not only of the Jewish community but of the whole city.
Paul Lindau, who visited their mansion in 1888, remembered that "the forecourt, where the members of the Allatini family had gathered to welcome their guests, was lit up by many portable lampstands, each with six lamps, arrayed at every point of the courtyard. As we entered, a host of servants received us... Albanians wearing their characteristic fustanellas (pleated kilts)... The younger members of the family, who had exchanged the beautiful costumes of their ancestors for dull Western clothes, led us from the wide staircase, carpeted with impressive, beautiful, thick rugs, to the wonderfully illuminated ceremonial hall on the first floor. . ."
Lindau was also impressed by the mansion's guest rooms, which lay off the courtyard, and extolled the view over the Thermaic Gulf, the view at which, twenty years later, Abdul Hamid would gaze in frustration for hours on end, exiled and imprisoned in the Allatini villa after his failed coup.