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Subjects in FocusThessaloniki from the 18th  to the 20th century

Thessaloniki from the 18th to the 20th century

Thessaloniki in the First World War
Vardaris Square at Thessaloniki
The cityscape of Thessaloniki
Travelling in Thessaloniki with N. G. Pentzikis
The inhabitants of Thessaloniki
Professions and trades
The Jews of Thessaloniki
The refugees in Thessaloniki
Entertainment in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki in the Balkan Wars
The fire of 1917 in Thessaloniki

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Popular festival
Black-and-white lithograph of a scene from a popular festival with musicians and women dancing, 1600-1850, Athens, Gennadeios Library.

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Entertainment in Thessaloniki

Popular festival
1600-1850, Athens, Gennadeios Library

Thessaloniki was famous for its cafes as early as the 17th century. Evliyia Tselepi mentions 20 drinking establishments and 17 "brilliant cafes, where musicians, singers, dwarfs, and tellers of ribald tales entertained the customers. They were also frequented by the love-sick, dandies, poets, travellers and literati, who whiled away the days and nights amusing themselves in good company."

By the middle of the last century, the only thing that had changed was their names; one could enjoy a female orchestra from Bohemia playing pieces from operettas in the "Kolombo", or watch a cabaret in "La Turquie" cafe-beer hall, or a pantomime at the "Malik". One could also attend Italian operas and French musical comedy shows at the "Eden", "Alhambra" or "White Tower" theatres and, later, cinema at the "Olympia" and "Pallas".

One could sample Italian and French cuisine at the "Restaurant de Toutes les Nations" and drink imported beer at "Christos's" or "Yeoryiadis's" pubs in the marketplace. At the luxury cafes like the "Crystal" and the "Olympe", the price of a "Wiener melange" included the use of 15 newspapers, 20 magazines and several carafes of fresh water from Mount Hortiatis, while at the city's many clubs, locals and Franco-Levantine aristocrats held receptions, dances and costume balls, or played cards, flirted and occasionally plotted.

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.