Folklore Macedonia Museum Thessaloniki – If this usually happens to you let’s surprise, after experience at FEMM-Th (Folklife Ethnological Museum of Macedonia-Thrace), for several reasons:

It is an ideal spot (Vasilis Olgas Avenue 68) to take a break after walking along the trendy Thessaloniki coast promenade. An oasis that feeds the brain with new sensations, some of which you take with you to remember. As I do.

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Vila Mondiano, was built in 1906, by Eli Modiano. An eclectic structure influenced by Art Nouveau.

Maybe first in a pleasant café (free big bottle of water and Wi-Fi) at the beautiful, spacious museum garden, or at ending the visit.

Lucky you, when you find an architectural gem, the neoclassical Villa Modiano, housing FEMM-Th (Folklife Ethnological Museum of Macedonia-Thrace); Upon entering, you will be delighted by the interactive display about domestic life in the 19th century (woven textiles, embroidery, costumes, work processes, tools, customs, musical instruments…)

Exterior: Villa Modiano, an architectural gem from 1906, is the work of architect Elie Mondiano for his cousin, the banker Jacques Mondiano. In the eclectic style, with decorative iron elements of upcoming Art Nouveau. While inside, visitors will experience an expertly accurate, educational display with exciting content. Also, some fascinating automatisms show the use of machines from the past. All in all, you’ll gain enough if you visit the Museum, due to the exciting architecture and garden café or the Collection inside.

The permanent exhibitions of FEMM-Th focus on the basic needs of human society of food, shelter, and clothing

I enjoyed two exhibitions: On The Mills of Macedonia and Thrace since 2003, and 2005, and Traditional Costumes of Macedonia and Thrace, 1860-1960. The rest of the two floors, for the food and shelter, are currently under preparation.

The initial phase of the exhibition presents water-powered machines as progressive means in the processing of food, shelter, and clothing. Textile processes, particularly interesting to me, are visual stories. Telling by all museological means (museum objects, photographs, drafts, texts, digital effects as well as driving force simulation).

This scene probably should remind the older generations of Serbs of the archaisms of weaving at the Homeland

Starting with hand processing the fiber, laying the warps, and hand weaving. The guide activated for me devices running at finishing woolen cloth and tufting hairy rugs. Here is the half-size model of a cloth-finishing waterfall constructed by in situ research. We experience the “flokati” rug tumbling in the turbulent water. That lasted until its fibers mat, its weave tightens and the wool becomes soft and fluffy. The bottom part of the device, washing and finishing woolen cloth.

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Functional model of a cloth-finishing waterfall
Device functions, washing, and finishing “flokati” rug

Folklore Macedonia Museum Thessaloniki – Sarakatsan’s women’s non-woven aprons

In another case, among costumes upstairs, I found a subject for my Note. It is a piece of Sarakatsan women’s clothes—a pastoral apron in Central and Eastern Macedonia. From the texts by D. Antonijević, I learned the phenomenon of non-woven woolen apron with the symbolism of embroidered ornamentation. Unusual, although fabric rolling was a craft typical for herding communities. The whole home production of Sarakatsan women’s aprons was with bare hands. Women pressed unwashed wool only by their hands, adding tallow or sheep’s fat. This hand-rolled non-woven felt is considered the oldest type of textile material.

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Exhibition: Scene of traditional clothing in the cultural context of Vlach, Sarakacans

Eventually, can you imagine a traveling community across pastures in villages close to heaven? Men only care about herds. And these Sarakatsana women about everything else. They roll and pressure wool with their own hands for a mobile hut; and take care of family, furniture, textiles, and clothes… Equally, in this scene, Ahead on the carpet is a bride’s dowry.

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“Panaoula” Thracian Sarakatchan apron, early 20th Century; Interlinked moons and cross on the apron of a newly-wed woman

But the apron is special, its visual information is accurate and direct. Embroidered ornaments express the woman’s speech, and mark every change in a Sarakatsan woman’s life (birth, childhood, engagement, marriage, holidays, nomadic movements, old age, and death). The cross is, first of all, a holy talisman that preserves and beautifies. The crosses on the apron inform about age and status. For example, chained “powerful crosses” sign marital harmony.

Folklore Macedonia Museum Thessaloniki permanent exhibition ‘Macedonia-Thrace: Traditional Costumes, 1860-1960’

As well as, the concept of the Exhibition, traditional costumes imply dressing in the pre-industrial era, which encompasses the period 1860-1960 as the time frame. For an insight into the variety of regional types, there is a selection of 49 sets. From ancient types to those changed by the influences of 20th-century fashion.

Additionally, the exhibition includes a “Costume Diffusion Map” as a digital map, representing costume types by local origin. Visitors easily choose a clothing type and activate it by pressing the button in the series of images as a legend.


In my impression of (Folklife and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia Thrace) FEMM-Th, the keyword is harmonizing. Moreover, it is regarding balance in the setting of museum objects in the environment of the historical building.

Usually, in summer evenings people enjoy concerts and exhibitions while relaxing in the shadows of huge trees. For the Thessalonica locals, is a place of calmness, to rest from the hard day of the busy city. But for tourists, find the Museum, I advise enter and see the marvelous exhibition.


After saying a grateful goodbye to the hosts, my husband was waiting for me in the garden. Finally, I joined him with coffee, for a while, without hurry. Later, we realized happily that the Museum’s working hours also approximately coincided.

With a warm recommendation to visit the Museum that this note is about

Sincerely, Branka on Textiles

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