People often talk of underground galleries running beneath much of the centre of Thessaloniki. They say, among other things, that there is a passage linking the Catacomb of St John’s, at the corner of Pavlou Mela and Mackenzie King, next to the church of Aghia Sophia, with Aghios Demetrios. While this network has not been fully explored, it seems that in the ’50s at least someone knew it well enough to use as an escape route. It happened when Nikos Zachariadis, the Secretary General of the Greek Communist Party, was being taken to jail. When he and the policeman escorting him reached this point, he pretended he had to tie his shoelace. The policeman stopped, Zachariadis vaulted over the railing into the little courtyard below, and by the time the policeman had scrambled down the steps he had disappeared. Swallowed up by the underground galleries? Nο one ever knew…


Urban myths, folk tales and historic events that sound more like legends make up the mosaic of Thessaloniki ’s underground stories. Their heroes lurk in the gaps in official history, for you to discover. I discovered them in the pages of My Time magazine by Exclusive Editions.