Salonica in the Age of Ports

with Sotiris Dimitriadis

hosted by Chris Gratien and Nir Shafir

Following the First World War, Eastern Mediterranean port cities lost much of their cosmopolitan character with the rise of nationalism. Given the violent and disruptive nature of this change, it is natural that these multicultural spaces are remembered with a great deal of nostalgia. However, the cosmopolitan nature of the port was also the product of a certain historical context in which Mediterranean ports became important spaces of contact, conflict, and social change. In this episode, Sotiris Dimitriadis reconstructs this historical context and explains the ways in which the urban space of Salonica (in modern-day Greece) was refashioned as part of the economic and social transformation of the Ottoman Empire during the Tanzimat period.

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Sotiris Dimitriadis is a PhD candidate at SOAS in London focusing on urban space in the nineteeth-century Mediterranean
Nir Shafir is a PhD candidate at UCLA focusing on history of science and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire (see
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Episode No. 94
Release Date: 23 February 2013
Location: Feriköy, Istanbul
Editing and Production: Chris Gratien
Images and bibliography courtesy of Sotiris Dimitriadis (see below)

This episode is part of our series on Urban Space in the Ottoman World

Select Bibliography

Salonique 1850-1918: La ‘Ville des Juifs’ et le Reveil des Balkans, ed. Gilles Venstein (Paris: Autrement, 1992)

Alexandra Yerolympos, Urban Transformations in the Balkans (1820-1920) (Thessaloniki: University Studio Press, 1996)

Meropi Anastassiadou, Salonique: Une Ville Ottomane à l'Âge des Réformes (Leiden: Brill, 1997)

Mark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews (London: Harper Collins, 2004)

Çağlar Keyder, Y. Eyüp Özveren, and Donald Quataert, “Port Cities in the Ottoman Empire: Some Theoretical and Historical Perspectives” in Review, a Journal of Fernand Braudel Center, XVI, 4 (Fall 1993), pp. 519-558

Jens Hanssen, Fin de Siecle Beirut: the making of an Ottoman provincial capital (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003)

Malte Fuhrmann and Vangelis Kechriotis, "The late Ottoman port-cities and their inhabitants: subjectivity, urbanity, and conflicting orders" in Mediterranean Historical Review, 24,2 (December 2009), 71-78

Sibel Zandi-Sayek, Ottoman Izmir: The Rise of a Cosmopolitan Port, 1840-1880 (Minneapolis and London: University of Minessota Press, 2012)


Villa Allatinin (Source: Municipality of Thessaloniki, Digitalisation of Cultural Documents)

Jewish Cemetery of Salonica (Source: Municipality of Thessaloniki, Digitalisation of Cultural Documents)

Map of Salonica Train Station (Source: Ottoman Archives)

The "Konak," Government House in Ottoman Salonica

Sultan Mehmed Reşad V at Aya Sofia in Salonica

Le Progress de Salonique, July 25, 1908


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