Thessaloniki is nowadays the second most important city in Greece after Athens but for decades it was the other way around; being closer to the centre of the Ottoman Empire than Athens meant that Salonica developed a central role for the whole region and for people from Trace, Makedonia, Bulgaria becoming a diverse and vibrant cultural hub where concepts as nationality, ethnicity, and religion were not given much importance, letting people being able to find their safe places in the city. History added up this: following the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of two new States (Greece and Turkey), Greeks living in Turkish territory swapped place with Turks living in Greek territory, and vice versa, in a 1.6 million people population exchange; Thessaloniki saw its population raising by 270,000 people and new settlements developed in the city where refugees both lived and worked. Shop on the ground floor and house on the first one, this way these settlements quickly became busy bazars. One of these is now a classic spot for the city’s nightlife: Bit Bazar.
Bit Bazar basically occupies an area of more than two blocks in the centre of the city: the external side is the one from which its initial occupation comes back the most; few stores are still open selling typical clothes, textiles, and antiques. It is the interior yard, though, the busiest part. Just by walking towards it you realize the atmosphere you are going to find once you step in. Full tables, music, empty glasses, running waiters, and, in general, a cheering and joyful spirit. Each bar or restaurant set up tables on the yard making it difficult to distinguish between a place or another; it feels like being at huge event with hundreds of guests, and it is actually kind of great. Each table has a different reason to celebrate and have a good time, and when you have hundreds of them the fun just comes out pretty naturally.
Bit Bazar is an awesome place to have a good and fun dinner and still have some money to keep on having fun later on in Thessaloniki. Students and young people fill this place up every weekend but also during the week people show up; the noise volume won’t be as high as on a Saturday night, but who says it always has to be? The Bazar is very close to the centre of the city, so you'll have many options before and after coming here: a walk to the White Tower or to the famous Ladadika district might be what you'll need.
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