May 31 2013

Ano Poli, Thessaloniki: The Charm of Architectural Integrity

In almost every city, there is a specific area that everyone visits to spend hours just walking, taking photos, and relaxing. Can it be a coincidence that this area almost in every city is the so-called “old town?”

In Thessaloniki, Greece, the prominent “Ano Poli,” meaning “upper side of the city,” is one of the oldest parts of the town. Almost the entire area has preserved the exact architectural styles for more than six hundred years. Many of the buildings in the area that are old have been restored, whereas the newly-built and more contemporary ones have to adapt to certain architectural features in order not to disturb the morphological uniformity of this historic area.

The primal narrow paved roads in Ano Poli, Thessaloniki, Greece

“Ano Poli” was developed during the Ottoman Empire in Greece, and the majority of the buildings were constructed with cheap materials. A typical characteristic of the architecture of the area is the clear and simple architecture design with the protuberances, called “sahnisia,” that were constructed in order to let more sun into the houses; and the covered galleries, called “hagiatia,” which are all typical of the “traditional Macedonian architecture.”

Old building with "sahnisia" in Ano Poli, Thessaloniki, Greece

Building in Ano Poli, with typical "sahnisi" in the centre

Building with typical "hagiati" in Ano Poli, Thessaloniki, Greece

Apart from the buildings, the urban tissue of the area has remained intact until today. There are the primary narrow paved roads that often lead to an impasse, many glades that offer a spectacular view of the whole city, and simple traditional squares.

Restored or new-built building ? Ano Poli, Thessaloniki, Greece

There are many more reasons that somebody should visit “Ano Poli.” The area is famous for the few, but beautiful little restaurants, with delicious food that you can enjoy with a cool glass of wine, or the traditional greek drink “tsipouro,” with a great view of the whole city. Isn’t it alluring?

Does your city have an “old town” area? Would you recommend visiting it?

Credits: Photographs by Dafni Dimitriadi. Data linked to sources.

Dafni Dimitriadi

Dafni Dimitriadi is a student of Architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Her numerous experiences in participating in architectural competitions have helped her understand the importance of research and design. She is interested in building and urban design restoration and aims to continue her studies in order to gain more knowledge related to these fields. She is an active volunteer and has participated in many interesting projects, including Open House Thessaloniki. She currently lives in Thessaloniki and through her blogs aims to explore developments associated with architecture and urban design.

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This entry was posted on Friday, May 31st, 2013 at 9:31 am and is filed under Architecture, History/Preservation, Housing, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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2 Responses to “Ano Poli, Thessaloniki: The Charm of Architectural Integrity”

  1. Mitsos Says:

    Nice photos.Only one thing to mention : you should include photos showing the view of the new city from the old city,cause this is something that people enjoy doing.

  2. Dafni Dimitriadi Says:

    Thank you a lot Mitsos ! You are absolutely right ! It’s a pitty I didn’t include one picture showing the view. Thank you for your comment !

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