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Some say this is the most mysterious place in Thessaloniki. Its mystical aura is the city’s biggest puzzle and its beauty and charm are undeniable. Just behind St. Demetrios hospital there is a green park, unknown to most. The park has been given the name “pasha’s gardens” probably because of old stories saying that this was the place where Safulach pasha came to rest, although there is no historical evidence supporting this.

The gardens date back to 1904 and they cover an area of 1000 square meters. Inside them lie remnants of some old stone constructions that are considered a sample of fantastic architecture. That is the arcitectural style that is best known from Gaudi’s works in Barcelona. The constructions that can be seen today are a fountain with a tunnel that goes around it, a cistern for collecting the water, a short gate that leads to an underground area and an elevated sitting area. They are all small in size with pathways and scales in different levels. They are based on rails and iron bars that hold the rough stones and bricks.  It seems that water played a major role, sometimes rushing, or dripping and other times quietly forming small ponds.

pasha's gardens: the throne
pasha’s gardens: the throne

There is of course plenty of myth that surrounds this place, which is also called “dragonhouses” or “dervish lair”. There is no evidence about who made these structures and for what purpose. The mysterious shapes and symbols that are found, the tunnel that leads to nowhere have led some to believe this was a meeting place for ottoman masons. Others say that here was the end of Thessaloniki’s catacombs. According to another myth, all the stones used in the buildings were struck by lightning and human sacrifices used to take place here at some point in the past. The fact that the gardens are located close to old and newer cemeteries, explains many stories connected to them. It is considered an energy site and there are those that claim it is a geomagnetic focal point.

Over the years the garden’s buildings have been greatly damaged and their original form has been changed forever. After 1922, when many Greek refugees from Minor Asia settled here, stones and bricks from the monuments were ripped to be used as construction material. Today it is a lovely green park, perfect for a sunny (or, why not, cloudy) day!