The Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece organizes and presents the exhibition
FROM THE KAPANDJI VILLA TO THE MIET THESSALONIKI CENTER
Opening: Thursday, 19 September 2019, at 20:00
MIET Thessaloniki Centre Villa Kapandji – 108, Vassilissis Olgas Ave.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
In 1989, after six years of hard work, the repair and restoration of Villa Kapandji (known as Fifth Boys' High School of Thessaloniki) was completed. The building was reused in 1989 as a Cultural Centre by the National Bank of Greece which ownes it since 1928.
Celebrating 30 years of continuous operation of the building as a place of arts and culture, MIET is organizing the exhibition "The Tenants" based on the history of the villa, from its erection at the early 1890s as residence of the family of Dönme banker Mehmet Kapandji to its current use as MIET’s Centre in Thessaloniki.
The exhibition presents a brief overview of the context within which the Exohes district of Thessaloniki was developed, beginning with the demolition of the sea wall from 1870 onwards and the extension of the city to the east; the construction of glorious mansions; the installation of horse driven tramways and sea transportation to the city center; the Church of Analipsi / Ascension and the Chateau Mon Bonheur neighbouring the villa.
The first part is devoted to the story of the Dönmes, followers of rabbi Sabatai Zevi, who were converted from Judaism to Islam in 1666 and consisted one of the modernizing components of Thessaloniki in the 19th century. The complex genealogy of the Kapandji family with five girls and three boys who, at the turn of the 20th century, were of the richest and most active residents in the city, is also presented. Furthermore, the story of the villa built by Mehmet is described: its architecture, the changes of use, the decade of abandonment (1972-82) and its latest restoration in 1982-89.
The second part includes the narration of the presence of notable figures in the building: from Prince Nicholas, military commander of Thessaloniki in 1912-13, and the signing of the Greek-Serbian alliance treaty, until the sojourn of Venizelos, Kountouritis and Danglis, the Triandria / Triumvirate of the Provisional Government of 1916-17; hosting also Esad Pasha Toptani and housing of disaster-stricken families after the great fire of 1917; finally, the building's exchange of property under the Treaty of Lausanne, its purchase by the National Bank of Greece in 1928 and its rent to the Greek State, for the accommodation of the Fifth Boys' High School.
The third part presents the current use of the villa after its restoration: at the biginning as the Cultural Centre for Northern Greece of the National Bank, later –after its concession to the Cultural Foundation– as the Thessaloniki Centre of MIET. Selected exhibitions from its thirty years of operation (historical, documentary exhibitions, shows of painting, sculpture and photography, as well as modern media), events, book presentations, guided tours and lectures are summarized by closing the recent history of the building.
At the same time with the exhibition "The Tenants", another exhibition, "The Safe". A glimpse into the past, a family comes to life", is organized on the second floor of Villa Kapandji.