The population of Thessaloniki, the "motley crowd" that impressed Kameniatis, the mishmash of "a myriad nations" that Houmnos mentions, was always a mosaic of nationalities. In the early 19th century, a visiting English woman noted Turks, Jews and Greeks, as well as Albanians, Bulgarians, Vlachs, mountain people from the Pindos, islanders from the nearby archipelago, a few Europeans and a good many gypsies permanently installed in the city.
"Halvah sellers, haberdashers, junkmen, with Albanian breeches or long Jewish robes, mingle every day," writes Vafopoulos, "with slow-moving Turkish agas clutching worry beads, children running behind the carriages shouting 'vour arabatzi' (driver, whip your horse), Turkish women wrapped in their black yashmaks... natty cane-sporting young men with high starched collars and black bowler hats, bearded rabbis, Turkish gendarmes and, sometimes, funerals where uncovered coffins would be carried without a hearse. . ., hurdy-gurdies on their way to a wedding, open rubbish carts, milkmen, green grocers and even butchers with their laden donkeys...".