The Konak (also known as the Government House) is an Ottoman-era building in central Thessaloniki. Originally built in 1891 as the residence (konak) of the governor-general (vali) of the Salonica Vilayet and the seat of the Ottoman authorities, it now houses the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace.

The Konak was built in 1891 by Italian architect Vitaliano Poselli. The architect chose eclecticism as the main style for the building, which combines elements of various architectural styles such as neoclassicism. It sits on top of the ruins of the imperial palace of the Byzantine Emperor in Thessaloniki, of which some remnants have been found near the building. When it was completed in the late 1890s, it only had three floors. The fourth floor, in neoclassical style, was added in 1955.

In 1907, the building housed the Ottoman School of Law, and in 1911 the Sultan Mehmed V Reshad stayed here during his visit to the city. During the First Balkan War, it was inside this building that the documents of the surrender of Thessaloniki were signed, making Thessaloniki part of the Kingdom of Greece. From 1912 to 1929 the building housed the Governorate-General of Macedonia. During the fire of 1917, the building sustained no damage, despite widespread devastation in the area, which destroyed much of the old city centre.

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Founded: 1891
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Greece

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Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.