Museum for Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki

The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki, Greece: The Museum for the Macedonian Struggle is located in the center of Thessaloniki, on Proxenou Koromila street and right next to the Cathedral of Gregorios Palamas. This elegant Neoclassical building originally housed the Greek General Consulate of Thessaloniki.

It was constructed in 1892 with the plans of the famous architect Ernst Ziller, on the site of a former building that had been burnt down two years ago, in 1890, in the severe fire that destroyed a large part of the town. This new building was constructed with the finance of the Greek benefactor Andreas Syggros and the first Greek consulate housed there was Georgios Dokos, followed by Lambros Koromilas.

During the period of the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908), which is actually the fight of Macedonia to set free from the Turkish and Bulgarian occupation and unite with Greece, the Greek Consulate of Thessaloniki became a secret center of operations, where military officers were met and guidelines were given for the evolution of the struggle. In just the three years of his service as a consulate in Thessaloniki, Lambros Koromilas managed to unite the Greek fight groups of Macedonia under one united administration.

After the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, the region of Macedonia is set free and united to the Greek State. The consulate service is resolved as it has no more essential meaning and the building is used for public services. Along with its history, the building has been used as a primary school, a night school and as a branch of the Agricultural and the National Bank. During the German occupation of Thessaloniki (1941-1944), the Red Cross distributed food at the basement of the building, while for few months after the Civil War (1949), the basement was used as a prison for political opponents.

After the severe earthquake of 1978 in Thessaloniki, the building was badly damaged. A few years later, it was renovated to host the relics of the Macedonian Struggle and indeed it was inaugurated as a museum on October 27th, 1982.

The ground floor of the museum hosts seven rooms that show the historical course of Macedonia to acquire its freedom: Hall A shows the Greek revolutionary movements in Macedonia during the 19th century. Hall B presents the society of Macedonia at the end of the 19th century. Hall C is the representation of the Consular Office of Lambros Koromilas. Hall D presents the staffing of the Greek guerrillas. Hall E is dedicated to the Greek fight in the countryside and the towns and also to the role of the clergymen. Hall F shows the end of the armed struggle and the Balkan Wars that led to the unification of Macedonia with the rest of Greece, and Room G shows the evolution of Macedonia after the end of the Balkan Wars.

On the first floor of the museum, there is room for temporary exhibitions, lectures, seminars and film screenings. On the basement, there are four life-size dioramas with scenes from the Macedonian Struggle: a school where a Turkish soldier enters to search for Greek guerrillas, the fight of Greeks in the lakes of Yannitsa, the arrival of a Greek spy in the railway station of Florina, and the struggle of an Orthodox priest to save the church.

In 1988, the museum founded the Research Center for Macedonian History and Documentation to promote the study of the history of Macedonia and particularly of the Macedonian Question. The Center houses a specialized library, digital resources, archival material and a large photographic archive of 4,000 photos.

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