In this second part of our post, we visit the eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments. As this is a more residential area, some of the monuments are residencies of wealthy Jews, dating from the late 19th century. Around 1900, this part of the city used to be called the “Countryside district – Exohes”.
Find here Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments Part I, where we visit the Jewish monuments in the Thessaloniki center.
Up next I am going to tell you about the eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments!
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Thessaloniki Quick Reference
- Where to stay in Thessaloniki: Daios Luxury Living
- Heading to the Greek Islands from Thessaloniki? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryScanner or FerryHopper
Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments Map
Find here an interactive Google Map with all the Eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments.
Eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments
- Villa Allatini
- Villa Morpurgo
- Ouziel Quarter
- Allatini Flour Mills
- Villa Bianca
- Mehmed Kapandji Villa
- Ahmed Kapandji Villa
- Leon Gattegno school
- Talmud Torah Hagadol School
- Kazes School
- Hirsch Hospital
- Yeni Cami
- Carlo Allatini Orphanage
- Memorial cobblestones at the 1st high school
- Villa Modiano
- Yosef Isaac Nissim School
- Monument at the old Jewish cemetery
On the eastern side of Thessaloniki, we find the area still known as Dépôt where many of the Eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments are located. The area Dépôt was where the tramways had their depot when the city ended. Here is where the Allatini family built their mansion at the end of the 19th century. The Allatini family was probably the wealthiest and most influential Jewish family in Thessaloniki, together with the Morpurgo and the Fernandez families.
These families, as well as the Modianos and the Misrachis, created commercial networks all over Europe and accumulated wealth because of their extraordinary entrepreneurial abilities. Moreover, they deployed part of their wealth in charitable activities in favor of the paupers of Thessaloniki and devoted much of their time to developing the cultural and educational standards of the local Jewish Community.
Moise and his son Lazaro Allatini came to Thessaloniki from Italy probably in 1800 when they created their first company. Lazaro fathered three sons and four daughters, with Anna Morpurgo. Moise, son of Lazaro Allatini, became a legend of Thessaloniki’s modern history, not only for his entrepreneurial achievements but also for his social activities. The modern school system and charitable organizations in Thessaloniki were closely linked to Moise Allatini and Fratelli (brothers) Allatini, as the family business was known.
Fratelli Allatini (Moise, David-Darius, and their younger brother Salomon, with their brothers-in-law) formed branches in European commercial centers and built a commercial network on a continental scale. The French aircraft maker Dassault and the composer Darius Milhaud are among the better-known descendants of this family.
Two of the businesses established by the Allatinis in Thessaloniki that still exist, under new ownership, are the flour mills (1857) and the brickworks (1882).
The 3-story mansion was built in 1898 as a summer residence for the family and was designed by the Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli (1838-1918). It is not only an architectural landmark but also a historical one as between 1908 and 1911 it was the residence of the deposed, by the neo-Turk revolution, Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II, under house arrest.
The building today houses certain services of the Central Macedonia Region.
Address: Vasilissis Olgas Av. 198, Thessaloniki
Close to the Villa Allatini, one may find the Villa Morpurgo, one of the most impressive Eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments. It used to belong to another of the wealthy Jewish families of Thessaloniki. It was designed by Vitaliano Poselli and was built in 1906 for Fani Ouziel, wife of Moise Morpurgo who was the son of Rachel Allatini and the grandson of Moise Allatini.
In 1940 the ownership was passed to Fani’s son George Morpurgo who sold it, in 1952, to the businessman and politician Nick Zardinidis. Following the latter’s death, in 2001, it housed the art center Villarte and the Northern Greece Conservatory, before being acquired by the Greco-Russian businessman Ivan Savidis.
Address: Cheronias 16
One of the more interesting Jewish landmarks of Thessaloniki is a pre-war urban island within a modern city. The Ouziel Quarter was built in 1927 by David Ouziel a key shareholder of the Thessaloniki Tramway Company.
It is comprised of 28 houses meant to house company employees. It was designed by Jacques Moshé. It has been a listed complex since 1984 and is kept in very good condition by its current owners. Ouziel is one of my favorite Eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Monuments to stroll by.
Address: Geor. Papandreou 58
Allatini Flour Mills
The French Company Darblay erected, in the 1850s, a steam-powered flour mill. In the 1880s the families Allatini and Modiano acquired participation in the mill and when a fire destroyed it, in 1898, they replaced it with a modern large mill, designed by the Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli.
The new mill started operating in 1900 and was the largest one in southeastern Europe. It was powered by electricity, employed 250 people, and had a daily capacity of 100 tons. The Allatini family left Thessaloniki in 1911, following the restrictions imposed on Italian-owned businesses due to the Ottoman-Italian war in Libya.
The mill continued its operation, and in the 1930s, under new ownership, increased its capacity to 340 tons per day. It was destroyed by fire again in 1951 and was rebuilt on its ruins, keeping the outer shell that was spared by the fire. It continued its operation until 1980 when it was relocated to the industrial zone of the city on its western side.
It has been a listed monument since the 90s however, its complex ownership scheme (including bankrupt entities) and the reactions of the neighbors prevented, until early 2023, its restoration and use. Following two public tender procedures, in September ’22 and January ’23, the estate was acquired by new owners, at equal shares.
The Fais group, owner, among others, of the Modiano Market, and Prodromos Mavropoulos, an entrepreneur from Northern Greece who is very active, through various companies, in the real estate sector in Bulgaria. Remains to be seen whether the two owners will manage to come up with a credible development plan for this city landmark.
Address: Geor. Papandreou 42
Villa Bianca is another specimen of art-nouveau architecture with eclecticist elements, common to many buildings of that era. It was erected between 1911 and 1913, according to designs by the architect Pietro Arrigoni, for Dino Fernandez-Diaz, a wealthy merchant and industrialist, and his Swiss wife Blanche, hence the name Casa Bianca. To escape from the Nazis, Dino Fernandez Diaz, with other members of his family, fled to Italy, but they were murdered in 1943 by the German SS near Como Lake.
Casa Bianca is one of the best-known mansions of the city, both for its architecture and for a romantic story: the romance between the daughter of the family, Alina, and the (Christian) Second Lieutenant Alibertis, at a time when the difference between social classes and religious belief was a deterrent. It currently belongs to the Municipality and houses the Municipal Art Gallery.
Address: Themistokli Sofouli 3.
The Kapandji brothers were important merchants and businessmen at the turn of the 20th century in Thessaloniki. They were members of the community of the Dönmehs (from Turkish “Dönme” meaning rotation, turn, and also convert).
The Dönmehs were Jews who followed Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), a Sephardic Jewish mystic and ordained rabbi who was active throughout the Ottoman Empire and claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Upon arriving in Constantinople, in 1666, Zevi was accused of fomenting sedition and facing the possibility of a death sentence he opted for converting to Islam, followed by about 300 Jewish families.
After the end of the Greek-Turkish war in Asia Minor, in 1922, and the exchange of populations, the Kapandjis moved to Istanbul.
Mehmed Kapandji Villa
Mehmed Kapandji Villa was built between 1893 and 1895 according to the designs of the architect Pietro Arrigoni following the eclecticist style.
In 1912-13 it was the residence of Greek prince Nikolas, the first military commander of Thessaloniki after its conquest by the Greek army during the 1st Balkan War (1912-13), then the residence of the Troika of the provisionary government of Thessaloniki.
In March 1913, the Greece-Serbia alliance treaty was signed in the villa.
After the exchange of population, it housed refugees from Asia Minor. In 1928, it was eventually acquired by the National Bank of Greece and is presently housing the Bank’s Cultural Foundation.
Address: Vasilissis Olgas Av 108
Ahmed Kapandji villa
Pietro Arrigoni made plans for the mansion of Mehmed’s brother, Ahmed, which was built at the dawn of the 20th century. It also follows the eclectic style while also showing neoclassical, art-nouveau, renaissance, Arabic, and Gothic influences. After the Kapandji family moved to Istanbul, Ahmet’s son who was also a Yugoslav national, stayed for more than 10 years in Thessaloniki, occupying, with his family, the first floor of the mansion.
Between 1924 and 27 the Spanish Consulate occupied the second floor while the back part and the attic were occupied by refugees. From 1939 to 1954 the mansion housed services of the Red Cross with an intermission during WWII when it was requisitioned by the Gestapo. From 1954 to the mid-70 it was used by NATO. Later, after having been renovated, it was used by the organism “Thessaloniki Cultural Capital of Europe 1997”. In 2014, it was eventually acquired by the Greco-Russian businessman Ivan Savidis.
Address: Vasilissis Olgas Av. 105.
Leon Gattegno School
This edifice was erected in 1928, according to plans by the architect Jacques Moshé, for the Leon Gattegno private school, comprising of Kindergarten, Primary school, and a Secondary school of commerce. The school had around 250 pupils before WWII. After the war and until recently, It housed the 7th primary school of Thessaloniki.
Address: 62 Delphon Street and Miaouli Street.
Talmud Torah Hagadol School
The building at 7 Fleming Str. houses, since 1979, the Jewish Community primary school. Until 1943 it was housing the Charity foundation “Matanot Laevionim” (Hebrew: gifts to the poor). This provided about one thousand meals per day to orphans and poor children. The school took its name from the Talmud Torah Hagadol institution, founded in 1520 both to head all the congregations and take decisions that applied to all and to provide education to young boys. It was administered by seven members with annual terms.
It was a very large educational institution with 200 teachers and more than 10,000 students. In addition to Jewish studies, it taught humanities, Latin, Arabic, medicine, natural sciences, and astronomy. Moreover, it had a communal treasury, library, printing press, fabric industry, and its own prayer congregation. It made Thessaloniki a center for Torah learning, in the 16th century, also attracting students from abroad.
Address: 7 Fleming Street.
In the central building of today’s Municipal Nursery and Child Care Center (Aghios Stylianos), the Primary school of the Jewish Community for the pupils of nearby 151 District was housed until its eviction in 1942. It was named in honor of the President of the Community, Jacob Kazes/Cases.
The 151 District was one of the settlements set up, by the Jewish Community, to accommodate the victims of the 1917 fire. It was officially named “Eliahou Benoziglio” but took its most common name from the 0151 Italian Military Hospital operating nearby during the first WW.
The use of the building by the Nursery while owned by the Community was the source of a long-standing dispute between the Community and the Thessaloniki Municipality.
Address: Papanastassiou Street and 28th Oktovriou Street.
Clara de Hirsch, the wife of Baron Maurice Hirsch, (the Jewish tycoon banker from Austria also known for the construction of the first Thessaloniki railroad connection and the quarter for the resettlement of the victims of the 1890 fire, named after him), spent 200.000 gold francs for the construction of the hospital. The hospital – designed by the Italian architect Pietro Arrigoni- would serve the needs of the Jewish community.
The hospital operated from 1908 to 1941. In 1940 it offered internal medicine, surgical, dermatology, neurology, radiology, ENT, and microbiology departments. There was also a fully furnished and equipped maternity ward with eight beds and outpatient departments for the poor. Most of the twelve doctors volunteered their services. The staff included the director, one resident doctor, and 24 nurses.
During the period of the German occupation, it covered the needs of the German army. After the end of WWII, the Hirsch Hospital was used by British military units and then by the Greek Red Cross, up to 1950. It is presently part of Ippokrateio Hospital of Thessaloniki, one of the largest public hospitals in Greece.
Address: Konstantinoupoleos 49, Thessaloniki 546 42.
Yeni Djami (Cami)
(Turkish: Yeni Cami meaning New Mosque). This is a mosque designed by the Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli for the Dönmeh (Jewish converts to Islam) community. It was inaugurated in 1902 and served as a mosque for about 20 years until the exchange of populations following the Greek-Turkish War of 1919-21. It was then used to shelter refugees from Izmir and after 1925 it became the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki until WWII. It reopened in 1986 as an exhibition center.
The mosque is 23 meters long and 19,80 meters high and is directed towards the city of Mecca. At the end of the hall an inscription, in Arabic exhorts: “Pray toward Mecca, never toward Jerusalem”. The building presents an interesting mixture of Oriental and Western elements. It includes David stars and Byzantine-style columns. The windows are in Gothic style and the terrace is in Baroque style. The arches follow Islamic architectural forms. On the terrace, it has two mechanical clocks.
Address: Archeologikou Mousiou 30, Thessaloniki 546 41.
Carlo Allatini Orphanage
This beautiful house, built towards the end of the 19th century was, from 1917 to 1943 an orphanage, looking after some 50 resident children. It’s now abandoned and in a rather poor shape.
Address: 3 Paraskevopoulou Street (junction with Spartis Street).
Memorial Cobblestones at the 1st High School
A Stolperstein; literally “stumbling stone”, metaphorically a “stumbling block”) is a ten-centimeter (3.9 in) concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution. The Stolpersteine project, initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, aims to commemorate individuals at exactly the last place of residency—or, sometimes, work—which was freely chosen by the person falling victim of the Nazi terror or emigrating to escape persecution. The large majority of the stones refer to Jewish victims however the project includes all victims (including Rom, homosexuals, etc.). At the end of 2019, more than 75.000 such stones had been laid in roughly 20 countries.
In April 1943, 149 Jewish pupils of the 1st Boy High School of Thessaloniki were expelled. Not long after that, most of them were deported with their families to Auschwitz where two only returned. Four more escaped death by hiding in Thessaloniki. In their memory, memorial cobblestones were placed in 2017, in front of their school at 3 Queen Olga Ave.
Villa Modiano was built in 1905-6 by the architect Eli Modiano for the rich Jewish banker Yako Modiano, son of Saul Modiano. The house, one more specimen of the eclectic style, stands out for its trapezoidal roof, the covered balconies, and the Art Nouveau elements that reveal the French influence on the architect who had recently completed his studies in Paris.
The Modiano family did not use the house for a long time. Soon after the incorporation of the city in Greece, in 1912, it was bought by the municipality and ceded to the royal family. It was used as the residence of the Governor of Macedonia and later (1947) it housed the Military Medical School and in 1960 a Theological School. Since 1970 it has housed the Folklife and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia-Thrace, which is open to the public with occasional and permanent exhibitions. The building has undergone various restorations, from 1970 to 1972, in 1995-2000, and the last one in 2008.
Address: Leof. Vasilissis Olgas 3-5, Thessaloniki 546 40
Yosef Isaac Nissim School
This building, in the classical style with Renaissance and early baroque elements, was constructed in 1906-07 as the residence of the Lazar and Yakov Nefous brothers. After 1917 the Jewish Community rented it in order to house the Sicilia Yashan (Old Sicilia) synagogue as the original synagogue building had been destroyed by the 1917 fire. In 1931 the Community became the owner of the building and started also operating the Yosef Isaac Nissim school, forming teachers of Jewish religion and history and of Hebrew.
In the 1930s the school had approximately 350 pupils. During WWII it was requisitioned by the German occupation forces and after 1945 the building housed the 12th Primary School of Thessaloniki. From 1974 it housed the Acting School of the Northern Greece State Theatre until 1983 when it was abandoned because of the damages suffered as a result of the 1978 earthquake.
Address: 48 Velissariou Street.
Monument at the Old Jewish Cemetery
The old Jewish cemetery near the city center occupied an area of approximately 85 acres and contained about 300.000 graves. The Thessaloniki Municipality had requested many times its relocation but no agreement had been reached until WWII. The German occupation facilitated not only its relocation but in reality, its destruction. Officially, the area passed to the ownership of the occupation forces because the Jewish Community could not gather the entire amount that the Germans had requested in order to release the Jews who had been abducted and forced to work on various infrastructure projects like road construction.
Between December 1942 and April 1943, the cemetery was destroyed and the marble slabs were sold as building material. In the same area lies today the campus of Thessaloniki University. A monument was erected in 2014, within the campus, to remind the previous use of the area.
Address: Aristotle University.
Thessaloniki Kosher Restaurants
- Chabad of Thessaloniki: Shalom restaurant, Salaminos St. 9, +30 2310 550 500
- Routes of Kosher, Kalapothaki 16, Thessaloniki, +30 2311269814
- Kosher Food, Salaminos 9 & Tsimiski, +30 231 055 0500
Where Best to Stay in Thessaloniki
Located in one of the best areas of Thessaloniki, at Aristotelous Square, with endless sea views, Electra Palace Thessaloniki is a top luxury hotel, close to the sites.
A fantastic mid-range hotel in central Thessaloniki is The Modernist Thessaloniki and if you are looking for a great value for money central budget Airbnb then check out the Industrial Loft near Seaside.
Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Greek: “Ya sou” and “Efharisto”
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals on both hotels and apartments, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Find Long-Term Rentals in Greece: You will find the best prices in Flatio
- All-Inclusive Resorts in Greece
- FerryScanner to book ferries to the Greek Islands
- Rent an Affordable Car in Greece
- Athens Metro Website (timetables and ticket info)
- Map of Athens Metro
- Trains (Hellenic Train)
- Public Buses KTEL
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112