Volos – A Forward-looking City

The city’s economic boom had an impact on upper-class taste. Soon, neoclassicism was adopted as a status symbol, marking the break with the Ottoman past and the connection to the glorious past of Greece. By the late nineteenth century eclecticism had prevailed, combining elements from different historical periods with ornate exteriors. After 1930, the first houses in the modern style were built, but they did not prevail over the city’s pre-war topography.

In upper-class residences, bedrooms were located on the upper floor and a reception room in the ground floor, flanked by rooms on either side and a kitchen in the back. The ground floor was heated by ceramic or cast-iron stoves. Oil fuel was used for cooking. On holidays, houses welcomed friends and family to admire the luxurious furnishings and equipment.

European models also influenced the local lifestyle, bringing a cosmopolitan look and feel to the city. The male offspring of affluent families went to study in other European countries – mainly humanities and medicine. The female offspring were groomed for house duties. Girls’ education mainly consisted of piano and French lessons. Women engaged in philanthropy and established associations such as the Lyceum of Greek Women (1922) and the Children’s Asylum (1924) for the care and training of needy children. Upper-class fashion, formerly a fusion of Ottoman and Greek dress, was superseded by European styles; private libraries were stocked with European literary classics, philosophy, as well as popular French romances; in theatres, the Italian operetta became popular, along with romantic comedies and moralistic plays.

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