What would it be like if buildings could speak? What would we learn from the many years of trees or other items? Unfortunately, we do not have the power to talk to them, but we can delve into the history of these places or objects. In this way, we can learn more about the places which we miss every day without thinking about what this building once meant. In the everyday rush, we pass by places, we go to our destination and our mind is turned towards our smartphones. People who come to your city to visit them sometimes know and see more about it than its inhabitants.
Once a year, we have a chance to enter buildings that we miss every day or do not know about their existence. “Open House” is an event that allows people to learn about it. You can touch, smell, see and listen to the history of this place with the help of volunteers.
In Thessaloniki, the seventh edition of this event took place on the weekend of 25 and 26 November 2018. We could visit 101 buildings from a different time interval. This is not only a treat for people interested in history, but also for enthusiasts of architecture. It is important to plan the sightseeing of these places because they are open in a given time frame and sometimes only during one day. You also have to be ready to queue in front of the more popular places. Volunteers offer tours of the different locations.
I liked all the buildings that I visited, because of the beauty and historical value, but the Byzantine bathhouse attracted the most attention. From the outside it is not apparent, resembling a church between residential buildings. The interior, however, is beautiful and pushes us to imagine this place from the time of its use. The bathhouse had various parts and underwent reconstructions related to the history of the city and the Ottoman occupation (minimizing the windows, bricking the door).
The place could be used by men and women in separate rooms. For women, it was a place where they could spend time without male control and relax in a cosy and pleasant environment. The heat came from the fire that spread under the floor of the building. In the bathhouse, it was so warm and so dry that people in one room could not see each other. Today, we can also use the public bath (hammam). It is an opportunity to move in time and feel the atmosphere of old times.
Did you get inspired to explore more of Thessaloniki’s buildings? Find more of ‘When buildings speak’ here!