Middle School Visits the Society for Macedonian Studies Library and Yeni Camii

In the spring of 1939, a number of distinguished citizens of Thessaloniki, academicians and businessmen, founded the Society for Macedonian Studies as a center for collecting, recording, preserving, studying, and publishing articles and books  on linguistic, folklore, historical, archaeological, and general archival issues which relate to Macedonia in particular and Greece in general. Consistently loyal to these aims, the Society has endeavored ever since, to the best of its abilities, to promote and foster scientific research in all fields of study.

On the 5th of February Pinewood Middle School students were invited to visit the Society’s Headquarters, and be guided in their prestigious Library. It was really very educational to see and learn how a very specialized 70.000 volume Library operates. The highlight of our tour, however, was the rare book center, where the Director of the Library, Mr.  Kouroudis showed us some of their most precious books, including Byzantine and Ottoman manuscripts. It was really a special treat to see, at such close proximity, such special books.

We continued our day-tour with Yeni Camii, a historical Mosque, designed by the Italian architect Vitaliano Poseli in 1902 for the city’s Donmeh community. Situated in the middle of an unattractive neighborhood, Poseli’s building instantly grabbed our attention. Yeni Camii, the ‘New Mosque, is a strange mixture of Art Nouveau, Byzantine and Moorish architectural elements, a stained glass window above the entrance door, a sharp-edged ornamental roof frieze and two wooden clock towers, decorated with multiple Stars of David.

Built for the extravagant but highly intellectual and progressive Donmeh community of Thessaloniki, Yeni Camii does them justice. Poseli’s style of architecture describes them for what they represented: eclecticism, a taste for the elegant, and a slightly extravagant lifestyle. 

Amalia Spiliakou

Host Country Studies Coordinator