Students, immigrants, refugees and low budget families seem to have no renting alternative in Thessaloniki, Greece than the so called ugliest street in the Balkans, i.e. Kassandrou str. (name taken by Kassandros, the first king of the city). Kassandrou str. used to be the open southern peripheral zone just outside the ancient roman, byzantine and ottoman city wall of which almost nothing is left. In its place, the history of Balkan and World Wars, dictatorship of the 70’s and fake wealth of the 90’s are nowadays transparent to the visitor, typical in all Balkan capitals. From one corner to the other, both sides, the series of almost identical residential buildings, too high for such a narrow, dark street, are sure to give you a hopeless dizziness. No tree, or any free space to interrupt the repetition of these vertical highways. And yet. The “queen” is saved by the people, as usual. Little details, mostly illegal, added afterwards in order to render such a life bearable and even cozy, transform this monstrous kilometer into a colorful and finally interesting postmodern oasis of human imagination and creativity. So, if the state or municipality abolishes the whole street, as everybody here wishes, let this story remain behind to prove, once again, that paying attention to what firsthand seems boring or meaningless, may reward you in the end with authentic, thus inspirational, moments full of shared feelings.
– Anastasia Deligianni –