Caravanserai Thessaloniki

Caravan Serai

29Jun

Next to the guest house is the historic building of the Caravan Serai, which the area is named after. The word ‘serai’ derives from the Turkish word ‘saray’, which means a magnificent building or palace. The Caravan Serai’s area was full of inns (seragia / saragia) for travellers, and over time these evolved into organized commercial centers with shops, rooms, interior courtyards and arcades. Historically, the building of our Caravan guesthouse was a small seragio too.

After the historical destruction of the Caravan Serai building, many parts were preserved for a long time and in July 1924 the building was sold from the public sector to private individuals. This sale caused a legal controversy and as a result the refurbishment works stopped and the building restoration has remained unfinished, in one of the most central points of the city, for more than 20 years. The building was designated to become a hotel. This helped to host many families during the Civil War II from 1946 to 1949, who moved to the city from nearby villages of the region.

In the 50’s the construction continued and in 1958 the Caravan Serai was rented by the municipality of Thessaloniki in order to house the City Hall where it operated for 51 years.