Ataturk Museum
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The Ataturk Museum in Thessaloniki is a lot more than just an exhibition; it is actually the birthplace of the legendary statesman and founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Open to the public a few years ago, the museum has become a much sought-after destination in the city, particularly by travelers from Turkey.


The house’s origins date back to before 1870, when it was built, and it was in 1881 that Ataturk was brought into this world. In 1935, the municipality of Thessaloniki ceded the house to turkish authorities, who, a couple of years later (in 1953), decided to convert it into a museum. Before the 1955 Istanbul pogrom, the street in front of the house was named after Ataturk. Nowadays, the Ataturk house museum is one of the oldest buildings in the city and welcomes no less than 120,000 visitors every year. In 2011, the Greek ministry of culture gave official recognition to the Ataturk Museum as an historical monument.

Reconstruction of the museum

In september 1955, when turmoil arose in Cyprus, an explosive device detonated close to the turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, impacting the Ataturk Museum situated adjacent to it. The destruction was slight (the blast shattered the windows), but this incident initiated the anti-greek riots in Istanbul and the crisis. Of all the repercussions, the alteration of Ataturk street was the least drastic.

In 1981 the Ataturk house was brought back to life with a fresh coat of its original pastel pink. In 2010 a refurbishment was embarked upon and, three years later, the Ataturk Museum opened its doors to the public. The mayor of Thessaloniki believes this will draw more turkish travellers to the city and further advance the centuries-old rivalry between the two nations.


At the Ataturk Museum, you can find a plethora of historical furniture pieces, mostly original, with some brought from Topkapi palace and the mausoleum in Turkey. Plastered on the walls are photos of the reformer at different stages of his life. The two-floor, three-story building maintained its interior in order to preserve the era of Ataturk’s childhood.

The ground floor contains a living room, his mother’s chamber with a chest and bed, a kitchen, and a reception room with a large console table. The second floor is home to the room of his birth and a hall exhibiting personal items of «the father of the turks», many from Ankara. These items comprise cutlery, a pipe, clothes (vest, military cap, tie, shoes), and documents from his school years. After a restoration, wax statues of Ataturk in his youth, as well as his mother, were added. Additionally, there is a wax figure of Kemal seated in an armchair. Outside of the museum stands a courtyard with a pomegranate tree planted by Ataturk’s father.

The Tourkiko Proxeneio bus stop is right by the museum. You can get there on buses no. 16 and 22. There are a few other famous places in Thessaloniki you can walk to from the museum — 12 minutes to Agia Sophia, 5 minutes to Rotunda and about 20 minutes to the White Tower.


The Turkish consulate is in a building close by, so you may need a permit to access the museum. As the Ataturk Museum is in a delicate position concerning its existence, it is likely you will be asked to demonstrate some form of identification when entering. After seeing the museum, you can take a stroll to the Aladja mosque (700 m away) or the Pasha gardens (600 m) — a lush park.