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Cities: crossroads of civilization The population of Thessaloniki through history

The geography and the people • The geographical position of Thessaloniki has always been helpful for its rapid increase, even from the ancient times and gave a mediating role between parallel or different civilizations. • From north and west, Thessaloniki was linked with the Balkan North, through river Aksios, and from there, through the plain of Moravas and the river Dounavis ,with the central Europe. • From south and east, through the Aegean sea, Thessaloniki was linked with the Greek World and the great trade centers of the East and Middle-East Asia. • In this way, the city has always been attractive for a variety of conquerors (such as Romans, Franks, Turks etc), but also a hospitable place for people with different civilization roots.

From the ancient times to nowadays. Let’s travel upon the time line.

King Cassander gathered the residents of 26 residencies which were existing in the suburbs.

Ι 316/5 BC City’s foundation

Hellenistic and Roman times

I The Greek gods are combined with gods from the East : Except from Dionysous and Asklipios, Isis and Sarapis are also being idolized.

Expanding of the Christianism to the Slavs. “Dimitria”: a great trade celebration which gathers a big number of traders from the southeast Europe.

Period of Byzantine Empire

Ι •

4th-5th century: Foundation of the city walls for safety, due to continuous invasions. Installation of refugees from the other places of Macedonia.

Gradually immigration from Turks.


End of 15th cent

1430 Οttoman


Ι •Installation of 15000 Jews coming mostly from the Iberian. (Sefardim)

• • • •

Jews: 20000 Muslims: 10000 Christians: 9000 Others: 2000


• • • • •

Jews: 50000 Turks: 20000 Greeks : 18000 Foreigners (mostly Europeans): 6000 Armenians: 185 (324 until 1895)

In the final years of the 19th century, 3000 Muslim Jews have been numbered, the socalled Don-Medes.





Others Christians






Jews Turks

• • • • • •



Jews : 61500 Turks: 30000 Greeks: 68000 Europeans: 4300 Bulgarians: 1800 Armenians: 3500 (until1920).

Ι 1916

• The city is being freed in 1912 and joined in the Greek Republic, and that’s why the Greek population is increased rapidly the next years. • In 1914 Greek refugees are being installed, from Bulgaria. • The presence of thousands of Europeans is physical, because Thessaloniki becomes the center of the “Army of the East”, of the alliance against Germany, during World War I.

• Thessaloniki concentrates a huge number of refugees from Minor Asia, after the destruction of Smyrna in 1922, so the population rises impressively at 500000. • Most of the Turks and Muslims abandon the city with the population trade, according to the treaty of Lozan in 1924.

• The Armenians are being doubled, but in 1929 lots of them are immigrating into Russia. I








• The Jews of the city are being transferred into Gathering Fields of Nazi in 1943. Only 2000 of them returned back.

• According to a research made by the Technical Chamber of Trades the immigrants in nowadays are coming from Albania (50,7%), the countries of the former Soviet Union (38,5%), from Bulgaria (3,11%), from Turkey (1,17%), from Romania (1,14%). There are also some Africans and Chinese. • The number of the immigrants reaches 9% out of the total population of the city. Most of them are gathered to the west side of the city, where the municipality of Menemeni is placed, and where our school belongs.

The population of the city in nowadays. • To the total number of the immigrants of our city, is estimated that 17% of them are second generation immigrants (0-18 years old). Some of them are our fellow-students !

People are the alive history of every city. Living together is a spring of life and continuity through time‌

Bibliography and sites •

• • • •

Thessaloniki, history and civilization, volume A, edit. Observer, 1997: G. Xasiotis, “The First after the first”, searching the durable characteristics and cuttings in history of Thessaloniki. G. Xasiotis, The Turkish occupation in Thessaloniki, the first period. V. Gounaris,Thessaloniki 1830-1912, History, Economy and Society . P. Petridis, Thessaloniki 1912-1940, politicals and socials evolutions. Al. Nar, Organization and activity of Jewish community in Thessaloniki. Newspaper “Macedonia” ,F. Koutsabaris, Emigrants in Thessaloniki, 20-122009. Newspaper “Macedonia”, G. Anastasiadis,Thessaloniki the refugee’s capital 1.htm

Eleni Kontou ( history teacher ) with the students Valasia (B2) and Irini (A1) have presented the population of Thessaloniki through history.