CULTURE

A landmark photographed

After its gradual dilapidation, one of the oldest and most celebrated restaurants of Thessaloniki finally closed down around a decade ago. Since then, the premises that once housed the «Olympos Naousa» lay deserted. Renovation on the facade of the building – a listed structure of the mid 1920s that blends a belle epoque and neoclassical architectural style – began in 2001, and a large part of the Thessaloniki community which has worked to save the restaurant from being pulled down hopes that the renovation will extend to the interior and that the Olympos Naousa will one day reopen. Architect and photographer Aris Georgiou, one of the steady clients of the restaurant in its last days, lived through the gradual decline from the ’70s through all its recent adventures. Enticed by the aura of this legendary restaurant, he took photographs of its interior throughout the years. A selection of them are published in the book «Olympos Naousa,» a chronicle of this landmark of Thessaloniki which was published a few months ago by Agra. The photographs illustrate the worn, old-time elegance and state of neglect that progressively replaced the restaurant’s one-time luxury. Nostalgia and sadness for something irrevocably lost is also there. Located in the city center on the road running along the city’s waterfront, the restaurant was originally two separate breweries, Olympos and Naousa, which merged in 1920. The restaurant opened in the mid-1920s and soon became one of the most sophisticated recreational spots of the city with a fine clientele that included intellectuals, politicians and men of stature. Besides its elegant interior and distinguished table settings, the Olympos Naousa was also known for its excellent and varied cuisine and, at different periods in time, was well reviewed by well-known foreign restaurant critics. Remembered as a historical landmark in the cosmopolitan life of Thessaloniki, the Olympos Naousa is now no more than a memory. The book by Agra evokes this memory, making us think of both change and the preservation of the past.