In the center of Thessaloniki in Fragon St in one of the most historic corners of the city lies a temple that will pleasantly surprise those who will discover it…
Hidden among tall, modern constructions the Temple of the Immaculate Conception (devoted to Virgin Mary) represents an entirely different style and philosophy in a city dominated by Paleo-christian masterpieces.
Built in 1899 the temple was the design of Vitaliano Poselli, a well-known architect that is responsible for many of Thessaloniki’s architectural treasures as he was invited by the Ottoman administration in order to modernize many of the city’s public buildings. An older temple that was built in 1743 existed at the same location.
The main characteristic of the building is the three aisled basilica along with the semi dome that leads to the side arches of the structure. Stylistically it follows renaissance standards while its architectural influences can be found on European countries, especially France.
The interior decoration of the church is impressive and interesting because of its differences compared to the majority of the city’s religious sites.
Rows of Corinthian style columns welcome all those who enter. At the center of the Altar (Holy Temple) lies Virgin Mary’s figure while the statue of Paul the Apostle will definitely draw your attention. The beautiful Vitro glasses at the temple’s windows offer some really impressive views as natural light enters the building!
The temple of Immaculate Conception belongs to the Apostolic Vicariate of Thessaloniki (Apostolicus Vicariatus Thessalinicensis) a name that takes us back to the 8th century AD. Its modern administrative structure was given in 1926, the year that was officially founded.
The church remains active until today while being run and preserved by the small Catholic community of the city. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend some time in this well hidden architectural and cultural gem.
You will soon realize that it is not the only one in Fragon St. …
The “Westerner’s” area (Fragomahalas) and the Europeans
The European district also known as “Fragomahalas” was the part of the city where the majority of the European residents of Thessaloniki were gathered. It was an impressively active area that was connected to the open market of Upper Ladadika (Ano Ladadika) while its commercial character was more than obvious.
The temple of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Church) is not the only building of great historic and architectural value. The “Ottoman Bank” that today hosts the music hall and the “Bank of Thessaloniki” also built by Pozelli are two outstanding examples that witness the lost beauty due to decades of insane construction activity…
Today the area still holds a glimpse of its old commercial character. Its new face however can be seen in streets like Sygroy St and Valaoritou St where countless bars, clubs, cultural and artistic destinations opened their doors during the last decade.
Over the years many discussions have been made concerning the future of “Fragomahalas”. These discussions led to several proposals and possible solutions that may give new life to this valuable, historic part of Thessaloniki.
Immaculate Conception of Holy Mary
Address: 19 Fragon Street
Thessaloniki, 56430 Greece
Telephone: 2310 539 550
Fax: 2310 541046