The Great Fire in Salonica

Images of the Great Fire 18-19 August 1917 which destroyed a large part of the city of Salonica (Thessaloniki), especially the Jewish center of the town. In 32 hours 9500 houses were destroyed.which left more than 70000 people homeless.

Venizelos forbade the reconstruction of the town center until a full modern city plan was prepared. This was accomplished a few years later by the French architect and archeologist Ernest Hebrard. The Hebrard plan swept away the Oriental features of Thessaloníki and transformed it to a European style city.

One consequence of the fire saw close to half the city's Jewish population, their homes and livelihoods destroyed, emigrate. Many went to Palestine. Some stepped onto the Orient Express to Paris. Still others found their way to America. Their numbers were quickly replaced by refugees from another disaster a few years after the war, when huge numbers of ethnic Greeks were expelled from Turkey in 1922 following the Greco-Turkish War.

Fire Map

The Hotel Splendid destroyed by the fire

Great Fire

Image of the destruction after the fire, "Incendie de Salonique. 18-19 Aout 1917"

International committee headed by the architect-archaeologist Ernest Hebrard for reconstruction

From left to right: Ernest Hebrard, Alexandros Papanastasiou, Aggelos Ginis,

Dim. Lambadarios, Konst. Kitsikis, J. Pleyber, Tom Mawson and Aristoteles Zachos.

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