#38: Thessaloniki, Greek again (1923)
"Saloniki was in a chaotic condition. It was only a few years
before when in 1912 the Turks went out of the government, the
Greeks came in again and the city name was changed to the old
form, Thessaloniki. Most of the intervening years had been a
period of warfare between the two peoples, and there had been
neither time nor opportunity nor resources to establish a new
and stable government with the amenities of ordinary life.
Officials seemed hard to reach and uncertain in authority though
fully friendly. Venizelos street was a highway of bottomless mud.
About a mile square covering the principal business district
of the city had been burned during the war. We could not then
foresee that the Thessaloniki fire was to have an effect
something like that of the great fire in Chicago in the early
days of that wonder city, clearing the path and inspiring the
people to redoubled progress. There were thirty-five refugee
camps in Thessaloniki and its immediate environs, with an
aggregate of 160,000 refugees. Ten thousand confronted bitter
winter weather sheltered only in left-over army tents.
A tall minaret still towered over Saint Sophia, one of
seventeen minarets in the city that I counted one day from
the window of my room. St. Sophia in Thessaloniki was older
than St. Sophia in Constantinople. Before long the government
removed the tall minaret and placed over the doorway of the
old Christian sanctuary two dates: 1430 in black figures,
marking the establishment of Moslem worship in the building
and government of the country; and 1912 in figures of gold
marking the restoration of Christianity within the sanctuary
and throughout Macedonia. By this time, most of the Turks
had gone and the rest were expecting to go soon, on their
way back to Turkey and Asia from which their forefathers
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