19 October 2015

Tantalized in Thessaloniki: Atatürk Evi Müzesi (Atatürk House Museum)

Before I went to Thessaloniki, I had an appointment with my hairstylist. I chat with him, and so I told him that I was heading to Thessaloniki. He happens to be Turkish-German, born in Germany but raised in Izmir. He speaks German and Turkish both fluently. He told me that if I am heading to Thessaloniki, then I should pay a visit to the Atatürk House Museum. He said that Atatürk was born in Thessaloniki, and the house where he was born is now a museum.

Wait a minute, wasn't Atatürk Turkish? Why would he have a house in Thessaloniki? This is where my lack of knowledge when it comes to history shows up. After doing a little research, I found out that Thessaloniki used to be Salonica, and part of the Ottoman Empire. During that time, Atatürk was born, in 1881. Only later, when Greece became an independent country, and started gaining territories as the result of wars, then the area that is currently known as Thessaloniki became part of the territory of modern Greece.

So I did go. It turns out that Turkey has a consulate in Thessaloniki, and Atatürk's house is inside the consulate grounds. Security is tight, after all, Greeks and Turks don't go together too well sometimes. There is a squadron of armed men waiting outside, to prevent skirmishes. Anyway, I rang the bell, went through security, and visited the place.



It is a modest home, with just a few rooms. This is the original structure, but there is a replica of the house in Ankara I am told.



I liked seeing his artifacts and personal items. It shows the style prominent back then, and it also shows a human side to important people. I spent about an hour inside here, in Turkish territory, learning about something I didn't know before. While it is a small museum, pay a visit to this place. One learns a lot about the historical events that happened in this region.

2 comments:

  1. Don't you love it when someone recommends a place? I ended up visiting awesome places thanks to locals or expatriate locals, following their advice.

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    1. Zhu,

      Oh I definitely agree. If my hairstylist didn't mention this, then I probably would have skipped it. It was mentioned in the guidebook I had, and I think that if it wasn't recommended to me, then I would have thought that it wasn't noteworthy. I am glad I went, and learned something new.

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