Pasha Gardens is a forgotten green park near Thessaloniki’s old town (ano poli), a part of the city where remnants of Ottoman-era architecture can still be seen. Tucked behind the Agios Dimitrios hospital, it is a little-known green oasis, and also one of the city’s most mysterious places.
The park is dotted with unusual, half-ruined stone structures. This imaginative, Gaudí-style architecture centers around an ornate fountain encircled by a tunnel leading nowhere. There is also a cistern to collect rainwater, a seating area, and a small gate leading underground. Mysterious shapes and symbols can be found throughout.
The area swirls with a unique spiritual and mystical energy. The architect is unknown, and there are several theories about the history of this place. Some say it was a meeting place or initiation temple for Ottoman freemasons, specifically the Sufis, or Muslim mystics. Some believe the park was first created by Sephardic Jews. And yet others suggest it was once part of the city’s catacombs. According to an inscription on one of the walls, the structures were created in 1904.
Most agree it was once a large, open garden, decorated with fountains and other structures, with a seating area to admire the views of the city. But the constructions were damaged by migrants that came to Thessaloniki in the early 20th century and used the materials to build houses. The gardens sat deserted for many years before they were restored by the city.