On this day in 1912, the commander of the 8th Turkish army corps, Hasan Tahsin Pasha, signed the protocol officially surrendering Thessaloniki to the advancing Greek Army during the First Balkan War.
Over the next few hours from the signing, Greeks took possession of the Town Hall, while Constantine, the heir to the Greek throne, the General Staff and the 1st Division, entered the city in triumph.
The Bulgarian army arrived one day after the surrender of the city to Greece. Hasan Tahsin Pasha informed the Bulgarians on their arrival into the city, that “I have only one Thessaloniki, which I have surrendered.”
Thessaloniki was founded in 315BC by King Kassandros, he gave the city the name of his wife, Thessaloniki, who was also Alexander the Great’s sister.
She was named by her father Philip II this name because she was born on the day in 353BC when the Macedonians and Thessalians enjoyed victory at the Battle of Crocus Field in Thessaly over Athens and Phocis.
During the Greek War of Independence of 1821, then in 1854, 1878, 1896 and again in 1904, the Greeks had failed to regain control of Thessaloniki, Macedonia and much of Northern Greece.
Therefore, it was a momentous occasion for Greece and all Greeks, as for the first time since the 15th century, the Great Hellenic City of Thessaloniki, was once again in the hands of the Greeks with Macedonia reuniting with the Greek nation.
The first months of freedom passed amidst a euphoric atmosphere, characterized by the displaying of Greek flags and banners, the abolition of the symbols of Ottoman domination (starting with the fez), the re-opening of churches and the recovery of antiquities.
The 26th of October is a double celebration for the City as it also coincides with the feast day of Thessaloniki’s Patron Saint, Saint Dimitrios, best wishes to all those celebrating.