Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

War Museum of Thessaloniki

War Museum of Thessaloniki

War Museum of Thessaloniki

The War Museum of Thessaloniki is a military museum that highlights the events which contributed to modern Greek history from the turn of the 1900s to the liberation of Greece from German forces at the end of World War II. The collection includes photographs, military uniforms, weapons, replicas, works of art, maps, paintings, and similar items from the armies of different Balkan countries.

The many exhibits cover the Balkan Wars, World War I, the Asia Minor Campaign, the Greco-Italian War, the Battle of Crete, and World War II.

Evzones Uniform

Evzones Uniform - War Museum of Thessaloniki

The Evzones Uniform is part of the historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. An Evzone is easily recognized by this distinctive uniform, which evolved from the clothes worn by the freedom fighters who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment.

In 1833, the uniform of the Evzones was the unpopular Bavarian style of blue trousers, tailcoats, and cylindrical military cap. In 1837, a new outfit was created based on the traditional fustanella style worn by many of the famous fighters of the Greek War of Independence. Its popularity led to its adoption as the official uniform of the Evzones in 1868.

The khaki and off-white field uniform of 1910 was still being worn during the Greek-Italian War of 1940-41, although the traditional black fez tassel and large shoe pompoms were usually removed before the battle. Today, the Evzones Uniform is worn by the members of the Presidential Guard, a ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion in Athens.

Evzones Uniform

Greek Flag – 1912 Thessaloniki

Greek Flag - 1912 Thessaloniki - War Museum of Thessaloniki by Joy of Museums

This Flag was the first Greek Flag raised in the city of Thessaloniki on the feast day of the city’s patron saint, Saint Demetrius, when the Greek Army accepted the surrender of the Ottoman garrison. The date was 8 November 1912 in today’s modern calendar, but 26 October in the old style or traditional calendar that Greece still used on the day of surrender.

When the First Balkan War broke out, Greece declared war on the Ottoman Empire, and both Greece and Bulgaria raced to capture Thessaloniki. The Ottoman garrison of the city entered negotiations with both armies. The Bulgarian army arrived one day after the surrender of the city to Greece, and Ottoman ruler of the city told the angry and upset Bulgarian officials that:

“I have only one Thessaloniki, which I have surrendered.” 

After the Second Balkan War, Thessaloniki and the rest of the Greek portion of Macedonia were officially annexed to Greece in 1913.

Adoption of the Gregorian Calendar

The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in the modern history of most nations marked a change from their traditional dating system to the current dating system that is widely used around the world today. Some countries adopted the new calendar from 1582. Some states did not adopt the current calendar until the early twentieth century.

Greece was the last country of Eastern Orthodox Europe to adopt the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, with Wednesday 15 February 1923 being followed by Thursday 1 March 1923.

The Greek Flag

  • The cross on the Greek Flag symbolizes Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
  • The blue and white of the Greek Flag symbolize the colors of the famed Greek sky and sea.
  • The nine stripes on the Greek Flag represent the nine syllables of the phrase “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος” (“Freedom or Death”)

Greek Flag – 1912 Thessaloniki

World War II Hellenic Army

World War II Hellenic Army - War Museum of Thessaloniki by Joy of Museums

The World War II Hellenic Army fought the Italian invasion in October 1940, which is known as the Greco-Italian War. The Hellenic Army repulsed the initial Italian attack and successfully counter-attack. However, as the bulk of the Greek Army was on the Albania border where the Italian troops had attacked, the German troops invaded from Bulgaria, creating a second front in April 1941. The Greek army found itself outnumbered while defending against both Italian and German soldiers. As a result, the defensive line was quickly overrun by the Germans, who then outflanked the Greek forces at the Albanian border, forcing their surrender.

Allied forces played an important part in containing the German advance, however, on 30 April, the German troops captured 7,000 British, Australian and New Zealand personnel. Greece was then occupied by the military forces of Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria.

Hellenic Army

The Hellenic Army, which was formed in 1828, is the land force of Greece. The Hellenic Army Emblem is the two-headed eagle with a Greek Cross coat of arms in the center, representing the links between modern Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Byzantine Empire.

Did you know?

  • Hellenic is generally a synonym for Greek.
  • The motto of the Hellenic Army is “Freedom Stems from Valour,” which is derived from Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War.

World War II Hellenic Army

War Museum of Thessaloniki

A Tour of Greek Museums and Historic Sites

Museums in Athens

Athens Historical Sites

Thessaloniki Museums

Thessaloniki Historical Sites

Delphi Museums and Historical Sites

Delphi Historical Sites

Delos Museums and Historical Sites

Santorini Museums

Olympia Museums and Historical Sites

Corinth Museums and Historical Site

Mycenae Museum and Historic Site

Epidaurus Museum & Historic Site

Heraklion, Crete Museum & Historic Site

Meteora Historic Site 

Milos Museum & Historic Site

  • Milos Historical Sites
  • Milos Museum

Mystras Historic Site

Pella Museum & Historic Site


“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day.
You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

– Epicurus


Photo Credit: JOM

Popular this Week

Japanese Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites - Virtual Tours
Greek Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Russian Proverbs and Quotes
Korean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Turkish Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
German Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Philippines Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Indian Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Arabic Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings