It’s definitely a part of Thessaloniki that has been unchangeable throughout time. It has become a vivid and energetic stigma of the town’s history that keeps tradition more alive than ever. And yes, I’m talking about Kapani, or in other words the traditional market of Thessaloniki.
Located at the city center, it consists of all the pedestrian areas that are enclosed by Egnatia, Venizelou, Ermou and Aristotelous streets. Kapani was created right after the end of the Greek- Turkish war and the Asia Minor catastrophe, by the Asia Minor refugees who chose to come to Thessaloniki. The first ever shops that opened there were selling flour and because of that, Kapani was named after the Turkish phrase Un-Kapan that means ‘flour marketplace’.
At the moment, time seems to have stopped there. Paved streets, authentic salesmen who are constantly bargaining with the people passing by variety of products and abundance of images, colors, tastes and smells. It’s a living image of Thessaloniki’s traditions, that’s why it’s extremely lovable by the visiting tourists, but unfortunately, unknown to most of the local youth.
The most popular and bustling area of Kapani, is the fish and meat market. There, you will meet the most passionate sellers who are willing not only to bargain with you, but also to make your day by….complimenting you! As for their products? They’re fresher and purer than anywhere else!
Then, you’ll find yourself at the vegetable and fruit area of Kapani. It’s without a doubt a pandemonium of colors and freshness! And if they see you skeptical and disbelieving, they’ll definitely offer you anything you want to try!
And of course, shops with flour and legumes are not missing. You’ll actually find so many of them that you didn’t even know existed!
Something you’ll definitely notice, are the huge areas of nuts that challenge you to try them, and the little shops full of tea and spices.
And if you’re still wondering from where this extraordinary smell comes from, then follow it and it will guide you to the flower shops. Colorful blossoms and whimsical bouquets are the perfect addition to the streets of Kapani!
I know you’re wondering, and no, traditional coffee places and picturesque taverns are definitely not missing from Kapani. They’re there to offer you a place to relax and eat, but also to remind you the tradition that is represented by this hidden part of Thessaloniki.
Inbetween all of the above, you’ll definitely notice a coffee shop that differs from the others. Modern and at the same time totally attuned with the environment, It’s an attempt of attracting the youth. It’s name is Semente and if you find yourself there, make sure to try one of the 12 different kinds of tea they have!