City Break: The evolution of Aghiou Mina street in Thessaloniki

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
City Break: The evolution of Aghiou Mina street in ThessalonikiA picturesque street in the city’s historic center yielded a pleasant surprise during municipal work to convert Aghiou Mina into a low-traffic road

Aghiou Mina Street in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki has its own history, notes in a recent report.

It was written by Christians, Jews and Muslims, traders and bankers, travelers and the residents of this timeless city.

Known as Kapanaca in Turkish during the era of the Ottoman Empire, it was later renamed Ioanni Tsimiski when Thessaloniki came under Greek control in October 1912, and Aghiou Mina after French architect, archaeologist and urban planner Ernest Hebrard redeveloped the center of the city after the great fire in 1917.

This short picturesque street in the city’s historic center yielded a pleasant surprise during municipal work to convert Aghiou Mina into a low-traffic road. Beneath its asphalt surface, tram tracks and cobblestones were discovered that had stayed hidden for 64 years.

The National Bank Cultural Foundation (MIET) and Cultural Center in Thessaloniki seized this opportunity to recount the history of the street in an event at the MIET bookshop (11 Tsimiski Street). The venue is significant. The very same location, whose main entrance is on Tsimiski Street, has a second door on Aghiou Mina, right across from the Jewish Museum, and was the site of the first branch of the Banque d’Orient (Bank of Anatolia), a subsidiary of National Bank of Greece (NBG).

It was a wonderful building with pediments and statues of Hermes, a basement treasury, and a beautiful oval trading room with by 12 columns that supported a glass roof. The building, erected in 1924, no longer exists. It was demolished in 1963, but its architectural plan, which is on display in the exhibition, has been preserved.

Focusing on the findings and the building, the director of the city’s MIET Cultural Center, Ioannis Epaminondas, has set up an atmospheric backdrop to portray “the transformations of the road from Kapanaca to Aghiou Mina Street,” as the exhibition is named, using maps, postcards, photos and floor plans of the building to illustrate the evolution of the bank district from the late 19th century to the present day.

“During the times of the Ottoman Empire, Kapanaca Street was a main thoroughfare,” Epaminondas told Kathimerini. “It started from Emporiou (Commerce) Square and ended up in today’s Fanarioton Square, crossing the city diagonally.” With the urban plan drafted by the Ottoman administration after the fire of 1890, the burnt section of the street was straightened, he explains. After a new plan that followed the devastating fire of 1917, only a small section of the old Kapanaca remained, stretching from Venizelou Street to Emporiou Square.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city’s second economic center gradually formed around Aghiou Mina Street. The first was in the so-called “Frangomahala” district (the area now known as Chrimatistiriou Square), where Jewish and Ottoman banks were located. This second center was where Greek lenders such as Viomichanias, Athinon, Thessalias, Emporiki, NBG, the country’s central bank and the Banque d’Orient (which was absorbed by NBG in 1932) opened their doors.

In spite of the whirlwind of reconstruction, today Aghiou Mina Street bears visible traces of its past, mainly through its buildings, with the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki being a reference point. This is where the tram turned around from Tsimiski into Venizelos Street, entering Aghiou Mina and continuing its journey on Tsimiski toward its depot (the end of Line 1). When the tram ceased operating after 61 years (1893-1954), the tracks were removed – first on Tsimiski Street in the same year and then on Egnatia Street in 1957.

The tracks on Aghiou Mina were covered by asphalt, thus preserving a segment of modern historical memory. After they re-emerged, the original study for the redevelopment of the street (funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation) was modified, and the Ephorate of Modern Monuments approved a proposal to keep them visible as a reminder of the first chapter of Thessaloniki’s urban transport and the city’s mutation as part of its modernization.

The exhibition will stay on display until July 27. The MIET bookstore is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Zweifüssler


  1. 26/06 11:26

    Facelift plans for airport of Greek island of Mykonos unveiled

  2. 26/06 03:11

    Visit the volcanic Greek island of Nisyros in the Dodecanese

  3. 25/06 23:45

    Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo NBA’s MVP for 2018-19 season

  4. 25/06 23:33

    ODYSSEA project: Med summer school on oceanography and fisheries in Alonissos

  5. 25/06 21:29

    Grecotel hotel group invested €475 million between 2004-2018

  6. 25/06 21:17

    Greek products excel at NY Summer Fancy Food Show on June 23-25

  7. 25/06 19:58

    Moody's: Piraeus Bank's Tier II bond issue credit positive for Greek lender

  8. 25/06 19:02

    Kojima sails off after five days of marking Greece-Japan relations

  9. 25/06 17:57

    Data, digital transformation to drive future customer experience in aviation

  10. 25/06 17:54

    All ships to remain docked in Greece on July 3

  11. 25/06 15:42

    Katharine McPhee parties in Mykonos with fiancé David Foster ahead of wedding

  12. 25/06 13:33

    IATA: Aviation contributes €18 billion to the Greek economy - how to keep up growth

  13. 25/06 02:59

    Thousands gather to mark annual “Greek Day” in Vancouver West Side

  14. 25/06 01:55

    Concert by Greek singer George Dalaras on Wednesday in Tirana

  15. 25/06 00:58

    President at SNF’s Conference 2019 in Athens: Greeks must follow a team spirit (videos)

  16. 24/06 23:41

    Brazilian soccer star Kaka on Greek island of Mykonos with partner (video)

  17. 24/06 21:36

    TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards: Crete among “Golden Five”

  18. 24/06 19:40

    Greek Public Power corp launches campaign to collect €1.05 billion in arrears

  19. 24/06 13:28

    60 migrants awarded certificates by city of Athens for language and IT courses

  20. 24/06 11:01

    4th 'Beyond Borders' International Documentary Festival on Kastellorizo island

  21. 24/06 09:22

    Heavy rains and storms to hit Northern Greece

  22. 24/06 03:08

    Increased readiness in Attica due to mini heat wave and high winds

  23. 23/06 01:03

    Travel report: Why there is no experience like a Greek Summer

  24. 22/06 17:41

    New Archbishop of America Elpidophoros enthroned in New York ceremony

  25. 22/06 17:19

    Olympic brewery in 'Open Breweries 2019' initiative on Sunday

  26. 22/06 13:04

    20 parties and four coalitions to run in July 7 general elections in Greece

  27. 22/06 11:38

    US State Department urges Turkey to instantly reopen Theological School of Halki

  28. 22/06 02:14

    Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Greece with Academia of Athens

  29. 22/06 01:44

    Business Tourism: Companies with a strong travel culture have a competitive advantage

  30. 22/06 00:54

    Hollywood star Nicolas Cage arrives in Cyprus for new film

  31. 22/06 00:33

    Enrique Iglesias brings his “All The Hits Live” tour to Greek city of Thessaloniki

  32. 21/06 19:30

    US ambassador underlines American companies' interest in privatisations

  33. 21/06 17:24

    Athens Acropolis Museum's walk-through excavation officially open to the public

  34. 21/06 15:55

    Byzantine pottery kilns unearthed during works in northern Greece

  35. 21/06 13:50

    Heatwave in Greece during the weekend

  36. 21/06 02:51

    Τest results: 97% of Greek waters ideal for swimming in 2018

  37. 21/06 02:26

    Times travel report: Discover the serenity of the Greek island of Tinos

  38. 21/06 02:13

    Archaeologists discover that ancient Celts drank Greek wine out of vases

  39. 21/06 00:15

    Symposium on the Greeks to grace on popular island of Paros

  40. 20/06 23:46

    Greek olive oil from Olympia sweeps international awards

  41. 20/06 23:33

    National Herald announces 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America 2019 List

  42. 20/06 22:28

    New evidence debunks British Museum’s stance on Elgin Marbles

  43. 20/06 22:24

    Athens Acropolis Museum head hails institution's 10th birthday

  44. 20/06 21:55

    OECD study records that Greek SMEs have competitive handicap

  45. 20/06 21:43

    Airbnb survey on 2019 LGBTQ+ tourism trends

  46. 20/06 19:32

    Hilton report on iconic chain's 100th anniversary: Welcome to the Hotel of 2119

  47. 20/06 17:10

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers honors Antikythera Mechanism

  48. 20/06 15:01

    Top Model Alessandra Ambrosio enchanted by Santorini’s mesmerizing beauty

  49. 20/06 13:49

    Greek President calls for Elgin Marbles return at Acropolis Museum event

  50. 20/06 11:35

    Run along the Caldera at the 5th Santorini Experience from October 4-6

  51. 20/06 09:56

    Foreign scientists to attend conference on Greek contributions in Paros island

  52. 20/06 02:40

    Media: Has Lindsay Lohan abandoned her Mykonos Beach Club?

  53. 20/06 02:05

    Summer Solstice 2019: People celebrate the longest day of the year on June 21

  54. 20/06 01:42

    Travel report: Symi, a small wonderful Greek island with a rich history

  55. 20/06 01:26

    Greek opposition head: Kavala and Alexandroupolis port privatization must proceed

  56. 19/06 23:47

    Traffic restrictions in downtown Athens for SNF evening races on Sunday

  57. 19/06 23:26

    New fiscal warning from Bank of Greece governor Stournaras

  58. 19/06 23:24

    European Commission: Greece improving in terms of innovation

  59. 19/06 21:22

    Greece takes part in inaugural anti-Semitism meeting in Bucharest

  60. 19/06 17:56

    Skytrax awards: Aegean is Best Regional Airline in Europe for 9th year

  61. 19/06 15:50

    European Coffee Federation: High taxation boosts smuggling in Greece

  62. 19/06 13:37

    4th Aviation and Flight Academy at Athens International Airport

  63. 19/06 11:23

    Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center to launch lung transplant program in Athens

  64. 19/06 09:35

    Greek director Lanthimos adds personal touch to Gucci's cruise collection

  65. 19/06 02:48

    Survey: Passengers want governments to focus on sustainable fuels to cut carbon

  66. 19/06 02:29

    Tourist arrivals to Cyprus drop 3.5% during May 2019

  67. 19/06 01:19

    Plisskën Festival returns with another dynamic lineup in Athens

  68. 19/06 01:15

    41K Greek taxpayers and firms apply for 120 installments for social security arrears

  69. 18/06 02:42

    UNWTO Executive Council: Tourism, a global force for growth and development

  70. 18/06 02:41

    CheapOair: Athens in top-10 European destinations for summer 2019

  71. 18/06 02:36

    Greek banks reduce borrowing from ELA to €1 million in May 2019

  72. 18/06 02:02

    Greece in top-10 countries in electric power production from green energy

  73. 18/06 01:38

    Global conference on climate change impact on cultural heritage in Athens

  74. 18/06 01:33

    Canada’s HEXO acquires medical marijuana license in Greece

  75. 18/06 01:31

    Tottenham’s defender Kieran Trippier with wife Charlotte in Mykonos

  76. 18/06 01:27

    Primary surplus of €918 million for Greece in first five months of 2019

  77. 18/06 01:04

    Bloomberg report: Greece needs more butlers for affluent tourists

  78. 18/06 00:54

    Cyprus hoteliers witness 5-10% drop in bookings and turn to new markets

  79. 17/06 22:12

    US moves closer to re-joining UNWTO with high-level delegation in Baku

  80. 17/06 11:15

    New finds from underwater research on historic Greek island of Salamis

  81. 17/06 02:36

    UNWTO and Indonesia Tourism Ministry to promote culinary tourism jointly

  82. 17/06 01:04

    Cristiano Ronaldo meets local soccer star and model in Greek resort

  83. 16/06 19:35

    Crossing the Aegean Sea from Sounio to Santorini on kayaks

  84. 16/06 19:13

    Young refugee student in Leros island teaches Greek language to kids online

  85. 16/06 19:05

    Jethro Tull brings classic rock to the Athens Acropolis in Greece

  86. 15/06 20:15

    Protest at Greek Embassy in DC on alleged abuse of Santorini donkeys (videos)

  87. 15/06 15:16

    Travel Report: Chios, a wonderful and unspoiled Greek island

  88. 15/06 02:57

    Moody's downgrades Turkey's ratings to B1 and maintains negative outlook

  89. 14/06 22:09

    Greek chef enters Guinness World Record by cooking 3,378 burgers in an hour

  90. 14/06 21:49

    Tolls to rise on Athens highway of Attiki Odos on July 1 and January 1

  91. 14/06 20:19

    US Ambassador Pyatt leads Greek executives to USA investor summit

  92. 14/06 19:45

    World’s most popular musical ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Athens from February 2020

  93. 14/06 15:40

    Greek civil service staff changes and holidays suspended ahead of elections

  94. 14/06 15:29

    Wage index in retail commerce sector rises 8.3% in Greece during Q1

  95. 14/06 11:44

    Greek island of Lesvos goes retro for Gen Next Party in Australia

  96. 14/06 03:28

    New programme for sustainable investments in infrastructure in Greece

  97. 14/06 03:13

    Ambassador lauds Greek participation in 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

  98. 14/06 02:52

    6th South European Union Summit begins in Malta today

  99. 14/06 02:50

    Barça Innovation Hub launches global sports tourism start-up competition

  100. 14/06 02:48

    First sanctuary for rescued dolphins opens on Greek island of Lipsi