«Thessaloniki. Monuments and history».
The theme is the history of Thessaloniki.
On the first floor landing, there is a “dialogue” between past and present, as the view offered by the window looking onto the busy seaside boulevard today is juxtaposed with film footage from parades and the arrival of dignitaries at the same boulevard in the early twentieth century, projected on a screen beside the window.
In the central area, the general historical periods in Thessaloniki’s history are briefly presented, starting from seven of the city’s important monuments. Presentation is done through videos on seven screens, one for each monument, which are set atop a lighted diagram showing the city’s main streets at points indicating their actual topographic locations. The monuments used as starting-points include:
• The Golden Gate (demolished in 1911 together with a section of the city’s western walls), to underscore Thessaloniki’s importance in the Roman period, when the Romans granted it privileges and it was proclaimed a “free city”.
• The Roman Agora (2nd-3rd c.), the administrative, financial, and social center of Thessaloniki, to provide a picture of the city’s public life in the Roman period.
• The Galerian complex (early 4th c.), to present the gradual transition from ancient religion to Christianity, which became a core component of the physiognomy of the Byzantine Empire.
• The Church of Saint Demetrius (Agios Demetrios), to indicate the important role played by the cult of this saint in the history of Byzantine Thessaloniki from a religious, social, and financial standpoint.
• The Church of the Twelve Apostles (Agioi Apostoloi) (1310-1314), to comment on the city’s importance in the Late Byzantine period (13th c.-1453), when it was the second city in the empire after Constantinople.
• The Church of the Acheiropoietos (450-475), the oldest preserved Christian church in Thessaloniki, to present the end of the Byzantine and beginning of the Ottoman period, since this was the first church to be converted into a mosque (Eski cuma camii), and other of the city’s churches followed its fate.
• The Heptapyrgio, to present the Ottoman period of the city’s history.
In the surrounding rooms, a series of lightboxes focus on important historical events in Thessaloniki, including the slaughter in the Hippodrome in 390, the Latin kingdom (1204-1224), the revolt of the Zealots (1342-1349), the Revolution of 1821, the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908), the Young Turks movement (1908), the liberation in 1912, and World War I.