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Papafio Foundation

Papafio Foundation is a building of late neoclassicism, with eclectic and renaissance elements.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1912 - )

    1912 It operated a hospital.

    1947 It operated again as an orphanage.

    2010 The Board of Directors, chaired by the then archbishop of Thessaloniki, demanded a large sum for the concession of land in order to build the metro station, which delayed the works by 2 years.

    2015 It was revealed that a minor was systematically raping a younger minor with the involvement of 6 other children. The then archbishop and the Board of Directors were charged with a cover-up, but were acquitted a year later by order of the first-instance judicial council.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1912)

    1894 Beginning of construction.

    1904 Completion.

  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

Papafio Foundation is a building of late neoclassicism, with eclectic and renaissance elements; it is symmetrical, has a central part in projection, a monumental staircase, a triangular pediment and arched openings with false columns. The openings of the wings are simpler and the building has a rhythmic succession of openings and pilasters with pseudo-columns. Above the Ionic columns of the entrance (propylon), there is a dedication to the merchant and banker Ioannis Papafis (1792-1886), who made a donation for the building’s construction. The architect Xenophon Paionidis followed the basic principle of classicism, i.e. the three horizontal zones (base-main body-crowning), which is also emphasized by the horizontal decorative strips. The building consists of three levels and its floor plan is E-shaped. It was built at a time when Thessaloniki was still under Ottoman rule and E worked as a symbol of the Ideas for freedom and the union with Greece. All three of these Greek words begin with the letter E (Eleftheria= Freedom, Enosi= Union, (H)Ellas or Ellada= Greece).

What I can't see

At that time, it was the largest building in the city; it had been characterized as one of the most magnificent buildings in the East and as the “brilliant palace of the orphanhood”. In the beginning, charity and cultural events used to take place here, but later, it operated as the “Papafio Orphanage for Boys” and at the same time, it was called “Meliteus”, deriving from the ancient Greek name of Malta, where Papafis lived and thrived. In addition to being an orphanage, it was also a place of vocational training for orphaned children. It served as a hospital at the end of the Balkan Wars and later housed the 13th Infantry Regiment. During World War I, it housed the British Eastern Military Headquarters, it became a hospital again during the interwar period, operated as a German hospital during World War II and an English military hospital after the war. It became an orphanage again during the civil war. In a small room on the first floor, there is a small museum in honour of King George I, who was assassinated in Thessaloniki and his death was confirmed here.



Mazower M., (2004), Θεσσαλονίκη, πόλη των φαντασμάτων, [Salonica, City of Ghosts], Athens: Alexandria


Anastasiadis G., Hekimoglou E., (2000), Όταν η Θεσσαλονίκη μπήκε στον 20ο αιώνα. Τα 200 σημαντικότερα γεγονότα που συνέβησαν στην πόλη από το 1900 ως το 1910, [When Thessaloniki entered the 20th century. The 200 most important events that happened in the city from 1900 to 1910], Thessaloniki: University Studio Press


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


Kampouri E., Mavroudi E., Trakosopoulou K., (d.u.), Τα νεότερα μνημεία της Θεσσαλονίκης, [Modern Monuments of Thessaloniki], digital edition


Collective Work, (1985-6), Νεώτερα Μνημεία της Θεσσαλονίκης [Modern Monuments of Thessaloniki], Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Northern Greece


Papanastasoulis V., (2016), «Καθαρός» ο Άνθιμος κι άλλοι 5 για τον βιασμό 7χρονου στο Παπάφειο, [Anthimos and 5 others are “clear” for the rape of a 7-year-old boy in Papafio] in

Last visit 10/2/2024


Tzimou K., Toulas G., (2014, 2019, 2023), Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης: 1976-2024: Το απίστευτο οδοιπορικό, [Thessaloniki Metro: 1976-2024: The incredible journey] in Parallaxi,

Last visit 10/2/2024


Tsaktsira L, Papanthimou K., Mantziou G., Kalogirou N., (2014), Θεσσαλονίκη, η πόλη και τα μνημεία της, [Thessaloniki, the city and its monuments], Thessaloniki: Malliaris Pedia