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Ano Poli (Upper Town)

Ano Poli (Upper Town) is the part of the old town, which has largely survived the fire of 1917 and takes us back to old Thessaloniki.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1912 - )

    1922 The rapid influx of refugees radically changed the architectural character of the area.

    1979 It was declared a traditional settlement, with a lot of reactions from owners, because they could not benefit from the law of consideration, like the owners of other areas.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1912)

    The period during which it flourished.

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

Ano Poli (Upper Town) was built on Bayr Hill (in Turkish). It could be likened to a time machine, which takes us back to a Thessaloniki of past centuries, despite the heavy modern interventions the city has undergone. The narrow cobbled and irregular streets, the masonry of ground floors, the rich colours, the lattice windows, the projections on floors (sachnisia- enclosed balconies), the sheltered balconies and the wooden or metal support extensions (corbels) comprise a mixture of traditional Oriental, Macedonian and Balkan architecture, which is often influenced by European architectural patterns. Here we see some of the last samples of sachnisia. With the independence of Greece, the governor Ioannis Kapodistrias demanded that the sachnisia be removed and replaced with balconies, so that the female presence would be more visible in public life. Thessaloniki at that time belonged to the Ottoman Empire and was not annexed to Greece until about 80 years later, so Kapodistrias’ decree was not implemented here. Neoclassical and eclectic samples can also be found here, mostly in homes of Islamized Jews (Doenme- 17th century). Generally speaking, the structure of the region is characterized by its human scale, although it is consistently unregulated. The scale of the space, the low houses, the narrow streets, and the sense of neighbourhood, all give a human tone. Entering this area is like  discovering a village within the contemporary city. Unfortunately, many houses have been rebuilt in a “neo-traditional” style, thus altering the original, genuine folk-architectural style. Apart from the opportunity for a nice stroll, Ano Poli offers a taste of the traditional Greek cuisine in its many restaurants, especially in the Tsinari area.

What I can't see

It is the northernmost part of the old city of Thessaloniki, which has largely survived the fire of 1917. This area was probably first inhabited during the 4th or 5th century AD but it was only in the 16th century that it became a privileged Turkish quarter, thanks mostly to its good climate. It is quite remarkable that during the Ottoman period the area had no middle class but only very rich and very poor residents. After the annexation of Thessaloniki by Greece and the arrival of large numbers of refugees, the architecture of Ano Poli changed dramatically. As a result, its two and three-storey structures with the old, frugal elements of Macedonian architecture and the decoratively more pluralistic Turkish architecture, were reduced to a mere 30% of the area’s buildings.


Athanasiou F, Zygomalas D., Koniordos V., Makri E., Steriotou I., (2009), Περίπατοι κληρονομιάς στη Θεσσαλονίκη, [Heritage walks in Thessaloniki], Centre of History of Municipality of Thessaloniki, Greek Society of Environment and Culture, Thessaloniki annex

Anastasiadis A.I., (1997), Η Άνω Πόλη, [The Upper Town], in Epta Imeres, Kathimerini, p.p. 9-11

Zafeiris Ch., (1997), Θεσσαλονίκης Εγκόλπιον, ιστορία, πολιτισμός, η πόλη σήμερα, γεύσεις, μουσεία, μνημεία, διαδρομές, [Thessaloniki Handbook, history, culture, the city today, flavours, museums, routes], Athens: Exantas

Ζafeiris Ch., (2006), Θεσσαλονίκης τοπιογραφία, [Thessaloniki’s landscape], Thessaloniki: Epikentro

Ζafeiris Ch., (2014), Θεσσαλονίκη, ηπαρουσίατωναπόντων, ηκληρονομιάΡωμαίων, Μουσουλμάνων, Εβραίων, Ντονμέδων, Φράγκων, ΑρμενίωνκαιΣλάβων, [Thessaloniki, the presense of the absent, the heritage of Romans, Muslims, Jews, Doenme, Franks, Armenians and Slavs], Thessaloniki: Epikentro

Filippidis D., (2003), Νεοκλασική αρχιτεκτονική, ένα μέλλον για το παρελθόν μας, [Neoclassical architecture, future for our past], in Ιστορία του νέου ελληνισμού, 1770-2000, [History of modern Hellenism], Ellinika Grammata, v.4, p.p. 131-148

Musée Albert-Kahn, (2000), Θεσσαλονίκη, οι τύχες των Βαλκανίων, [Thessaloniki, the Balkan fate], Benakis Museum