The Countryside or Tower District is located along central Vasilissis Olgas Avenue. Here, you can enjoy a walk in the city’s glorious aristocratic past.
Impressive villas and mansions reveal the architecture and the wealth of a long gone era, namely that of the Interwar period, when the district was home to the country houses of the wealthy and social elite.
Nowadays, you can admire Villa Kapantzis, a beautiful building that has housed the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation since 1989. It is mostly an exhibition centre where speech events and projections also take place. Since 2000, there has also been a bookshop where you will find all books published by the National Bank of Greece Foundation and its Historical Archive (108 Vasilissis Olgas Avenue, tel. +30 2310 295170, www.miet.gr).
Villa Modiano, on 68 Vasilissis Olgas avenue, was built early in the 20th century, as a residence for the banker Giako Modianos's family. It is also known as the Old Government House as it was the residence of the General Governors of Macedonia and later the main office for Ministers of North Greece. Nowadays, it houses the Folklife and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia-Thrace. (Friday-Tuesday: 09.00-15.30, Wednesday: 09.00-21.30, admission: €2, €1 reduced, tel. +30 2310 830591, www.lemmth.gr).
The impressive Villa Mordoch, on the junction of Vasilissis Olgas avenue and 25th March street, was built in 1905, and it was designed by architect Xenofontas Peonidis. It is named after the Mordoch family that lived there until 1940. From 1986 to 2013, it housed the Municipal Art Gallery, while nowadays the offices of the 5th Municipal District and the Organization of Planning of Thessaloniki are found there. Those passing by are impressed by the neoclassic, renaissance, baroque and art nouveau elements of the villa.
Casa Bianca, also known as Villa Fernandez, is a gem for the Tower District. This luxurious building was raised early in the 20th century and is a representative sample of eclecticism regarding architectural style, which was particularly popular in Thessaloniki in the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. Nowadays it houses the Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki. You can admire a big collection of more than 1,000 works of art that are presented in different categories (Vas. Olgas avenue & Them. Sofoulis street, tel. +30 2310 427555).
Finally, the famous Villa Allatini was built in 1888 according to the Italian architect Vitaliano Pozelli's designs. It used to be the summer residence of Jewish industrialists of Allatini town, while during 1909-1912 it was the prison-residence of sultan Abdul Hammid II. In 1926 the University of Thessaloniki was housed in the villa, while it has also been a hospital during WWII. Nowadays, the Prefecture of Thessaloniki offices can be found there.