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Young Men’s Christian Association of Thessaloniki (YMCA)

The Young Men's Christian Association of Thessaloniki (YMCA) educational-religious function contributed to the choice of the Byzantine architectural “vocabulary”.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1912 - )

    1921 The YMCA non-profit association was founded.

    1927 Construction begins.

    1934 Construction is completed.

    1941 Requisition by the Nazis.

    1966 Housed the Municipal Gallery for two decades.

    1983 Construction of a heated indoor pool.

    1997 Renovation of Avlea Theatre.

    2002 Launch of a regeneration of the surrounding space (underground parking, indoor sports facilities).

    2005 The Avlea Theatre is completely destroyed by fire, including part of the wing on Tsimiski St.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1912)

  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

The plan of the building follows the Hebrard morphological proposals (the architect who coordinated the city’s reconstruction efforts after the fire of 1917) and recalls memories of the Byzantine past of the city. The building’s educational-religious function contributed to the choice of the Byzantine architectural “vocabulary”. When viewing the main facade from the YMCA square, one can distinguish two basic three-storey wings, which meet at a central cylinder and finish into a dome with arched openings. At the windows of the third floor and the entrance we can see arches, columns, stanchions and Byzantine style capitals. The building runs a toothed strip (brick ornament of Byzantine origin).

What I can't see

The financing of the mansion was ensured by donations. The architect of this neo-byzantine mansion was Marinos Delladetsimas, a graduate of the Ecole Speciale de Paris and director of the municipal service of architecture. Delladetsimas’ colleagues and the press accused him for making the YMCA plan into a sterile copy of Hebrard’s morphological proposals. Inside the building, spaces of libraries and a theatre (“Avlea” [=Curtain]) were designed, which still exist. The Brotherhood stood for charity, sports and social activity. It brought basketball in the country and was a hotbed for the development of this sport in Thessaloniki. The first open basketball court is preserved in the sports facilities, behind the mansion. In recent years, it was undergone extensive remodelling and modernization projects, such as the addition of an underground parking, catering, and more.



Mazower M., (2006), Θεσσαλονίκη. Πόλη των φαντασμάτων, χριστιανοί, μουσουλμάνοι και εβραίοι 1430- 1950, [Salonica. City of ghosts], Athens: Alexandreia Publications

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

Kolonas V., (2012), Η αρχιτεκτονική μιας εκατονταετίας: Θεσσαλονίκη 1912-2012, [The architecture of a century: Thessaloniki 1912-2012] University Studio Press