Architecture in Contemporary Literature

Salonica: City of Ghosts

Author(s): Hikmet Temel Akarsu * .

Pp: 193-198 (6)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815165166123010026

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Written by Mark Mazower, a history professor at Columbia University, the 633-page giant work, “Salonica: City of Ghosts”, surpasses its feature of being one of the most magnificent works of the genre’s monography. It reaches the level of a superior literary work as a permanent historical architectural script. The book is not only the product of many years of research and is supported by strong visuals and an index, but it is written with competent and even superior eloquence. The work has gone far beyond being a giant monograph due to its stylistic and dramatic structure that surpasses an academic study in literature. Together with the literary arts and human conditions, it has masterfully displayed throughout the narrative; it has turned into a tragic bildungsroman of an ancient city. Mark Mazower wrote the story of this exciting city, which has great symbolic and cultural values and has been the scene of significant events both in modern history and in the “recent” (!) history of the last five hundred years, focusing on the years between 1430-1950. These dates mark when the city was captured by the Ottomans and continues to the aftermath of the Second World War. As every individual from the Ottoman geography covering vast lands knows very well, Thessaloniki contains significant and unique characteristics in terms of architecture and culture as well as sociological and historical aspects. Reading the detailed story of the city of Thessaloniki, a vital cultural, political, and economic center, which has been invaded, burned, and destroyed many times throughout history and has suffered countless disasters such as war, occupation, fire, and genocide, from Mark Mazower's book, is an extreme enriching act that gives awareness of history, culture, and architecture. Mark Mazower describes all this with a scientific eye, a competent literary style, and a socio-economic and political background to the fullest extent. All this richness of narrative turns the book into a precious work that tells about the fate of a city. Every architect should read it carefully.

Keywords: Ancient greek, Architecture in contemporary literature, Balkans, Bildungsroman, Byzantion, Columbia university, East roman, Greek history, Jews, Muslims, Mark mazower, Monography, Modern history, Macedonia, Oxford university, Ottoman history, Salonica, Salonica: city of ghosts, Turkish minority in the balkans, 20th century history.

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