The Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece
organizes and presents
the new big document exhibition
SEALS, LETTERS, STAMPS
The postal history of Thessaloniki
Curators: Giorgos Thomareis – Yiannis Epaminondas
Opening: Wednesday, 26 February 2020, at 20:00
MIET Thessaloniki Centre Villa Kapandji – 108, Vassilissis Olgas Ave.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The exhibition presents a wealth of original postal items: folded letters, mail envelopes, bills of lading, letterheads, postal cards, picture postcards, stamps, newspapers, paychecks, registered receipts, parcel documents, lettercards and candlesticks.
The exhibition covers more than four centuries of Thessaloniki’s postal history, from the first known letter posted by Thessaloniki to Venice in 1482 to a December 1944 letter stamped "ELAS Censorship". Among other things, 18th-century letters disinfected with vinegar to prevent epidemics, shipments to and from rare destinations - such as Uruguay, Guantánamo, Osaka, New Zealand, and the three South American Guyanas -, letters wandering around or years until they are delivered to the recipient or returned as unsubsidized to the sender.
The story unfolds gradually from the early post-15th century, the opening of the first post offices in ottoman Thessaloniki in the 1830s, under the special regulations of capitulations, the use of postage stamps from the late 1850s, the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1875 with consolidation of postal charges, operation of ten different national post offices in Thessaloniki (Austrian, Greek, French, Egyptian, Ottoman, Russian, British, Italian, Serbian, Bulgarian) and the closing of the last remaining in 1914 by the Greek Administration, up to the special cases of shipping, the Provisional Government, the Army of the East, and the inter-war development of air transportation.
The documents originate from Giorgos Thomareis's unique collection, and was enriched with material granded by: Athanasios Paschos, Alexis Papadopoulos and Costas Stamatis. Postal history is enriched and paralleled by the general historical evolution of Thessaloniki.