When buildings speak: Stoa Malakopi


What if buildings could speak? What would they tell us? After I visited the State Conservatory in Thessaloniki (during the Open House event), I explored the Stoa Malakopi in the same district.

Façade of Stoa Malakopi, Malakopi Arcade
The façade of the Stoa Malakopi

I had passed this building many times before. It catches the attention of many people because of the large clock on the façade, which stands still at 11:05. It has been showing this time since the great earthquake that hit Thessaloniki in 1978. The doors to the clock got damaged and could no longer open. But there is much more to this building than only the story behind the clock. Let’s explore its history further.

The Jewish Allatini family gave instructions to construct a building to house the Bank of Thessaloniki around 1904-1907. The Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli designed the building, located in the garden of the estate of the Allatini. In 1917, the building was saved from the great fire of Thessaloniki. It was one of the few buildings in the district that survived the fire, another being the State Conservatory.

Entrance of the Stoa Malakopi, Malakopi Arcade Thessaloniki
The entrance of the Stoa Malakopi

In the years that followed, the Bank of Thessaloniki kept operating, but finally, it closed down when the Nazis took over the building in 1940. After the war, the building was reopened, and it housed the Bank of Chios until 1954. In that year, the Voreopoulou family bought the building. They renamed the building Stoa Malakopi, or Malakopi Arcade, because the family had their origins there. The family refurbished the building to accommodate a commercial arcade, with food places and different kinds of shops.

Different uses

Many different people have used the building in different ways, and we can still see this in different places. The building’s former function of a bank became clear especially when we went down to the cellar. A large, heavy metal door was there to protect the former Bank’s treasury. In later years, a toy store used the cellar as a storage: on the shelves, we saw some forgotten toys and packages. On the main floor of the arcade, there are several signs from companies that closed long ago.

But the building is still full of life. On the first floor, we encountered a designer of bridal fashion, which was using the space to exhibit some designs and to work. Other types of businesses, such as photo studios and offices, also use different parts of the arcade.

Post Author: Sacha Bogaers

Sacha Bogaers
I am 23 years old and moved from Sweden to Greece for ten months. My main interests are human rights, activism, and art. I also love writing about LGBTQ+-related topics and social justice.

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