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The covered market at the junction of Venizelou and Solomou streets is a great Ottoman monument in Thessaloniki, built in the middle of the 15th century. Renowned as "the most beautiful market in the Balkans", it included under the six impressive, lead-covered domes dozens of shops and was the commercial center of the city for centuries. Along with the corresponding construction in Serres, they are the only bezestenias(markets)that survive today.

Like all bezestenias(markets)built in the Ottoman-occupied cities, which bore their name from the Turkish "bezesten" (fabric market), were built to house gem shops, jewelers, textile shops, antiques, and commercial activities. Bezesteni operated as an informal stock exchange, setting commodity prices, currency rates, and quality control of fabrics and products arriving for trading in the city. Before the fire of 1917, Bezesteni in Thessaloniki had a total of 113 stores, of which 69 were inside. Damage from the fire, as well as the earthquake of 1978, caused damage, and restoration work was needed to save its architecture. Today it continues to operate with the same character that it had almost six centuries ago and is one of the few buildings that retain their purpose of operation from their construction centuries to the modern era.


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