Regional Branches

The regional branches of the Bank of Greece have always played a significant role in the local economy and society. Moreover, the buildings in which they are housed have become landmarks of the respective cities, providing a sense of local identity and architectural heritage and serving as invaluable tokens of historical memory and testimony of cultural change.

Soon after the Bank’s establishment in 1929, the Great Depression broke out in the United States, with inevitable repercussions on Greece.

In the circumstances, the Bank tried to boost the morale of Greek citizens in order to preserve the monetary stabilisation that had recently been achieved. This was one of the reasons behind the decision to set up branches and agencies in the heart of cities across the country to serve as beacons of authority, security and trust.

Addressing  the annual general meeting of shareholders, Governor Alexandros Diomidis pointed out that the Bank needed to “expand its reach in order to fulfil its mission”, which was “to deliver a feasible degree of economic normality, prevent any unjustified rise in interest rates, and diffuse the beneficial impact  on credit from its regulatory function beyond the centre to the regions”.

In most cases, the Bank’s buildings were erected in conspicuous, central locations in regional cities. Contractors had to adhere to comprehensive technical specifications, as meticulously detailed in the Terms of reference, covering every aspect of the project, from groundbreaking to finishings and decoration, always under the strict supervision of the Technical Service’s experienced engineers.

    Alexandroupolis Branch

    The Alexandroupolis Βranch was for a number of years housed in a rented property before its relocation to the Bank’s own premises. 
    The Alexandroupolis Βranch was for a number of years housed in a rented property before its relocation to the Bank’s own premises. The building was designed by architect K.Theodorakis and constructed  under the supervision of N. Sapountzis of the Bank’s Technical Service. Completed in 2000, it is a three-storey cubic building with one underground level , and classical references inn its façades.

    Chania Branch

    The Chania Branch is centrally located  opposite the municipal market on Eleftheriou Venizelou Street.

    The Chania Branch is centrally located  opposite the municipal market on Eleftheriou Venizelou Street. Designed and constructed  by the Technical Service between 1951 and 1954, it exemplifies the architectural form and typology of the Bank’s regional branches in the early post-war years, before a younger generation of buildings that conformed to advanced security standards.

    As is well-known, during the German occupation, Greece’s gold reserves were secretly transported from the Head Office in Athens to Chania, and from there to Johannesburg and then England (before being brought back to Greece). This experience was probably a reason why  the Bank placed great emphasis on the physical security of its facilities and premises across the country.

    The Chania Branch was designed by the Bank’s Technical Service architects K. Papadakis and D. Filippakis-Karantinos. It is a two-storey cubic building with a marble portico of doric columns and neoclassicist structural elements, as well as a strictly symmetrical layout of the ground floor, where the double-height transaction hall is located.

    Heraklion Branch

    The Heraklion Branch played a crucial role in Greece’s economic history during World War II, as the first stop in the evacuation of the Bank’s gold reserves.
    The Heraklion Branch played a crucial role in Greece’s economic history during World War II, as the first stop in the evacuation of the Bank’s gold reserves. It was initially housed at the same location in an older building of eclectic design, once the Goulanakis mansion, remodelled to serve the Bank’s needs at the time . In 1968, the Bank decided to tear down the old building and in its place erect a new one, designed by architect N. Sapountzis from the Bank’s Technical Service. This construction in concrete, aluminium and glass is one of the Bank’s few modern-style buildings.

    Ioannina Branch

    The Ioannina Branch building dates back to the 1960s and is characterised by unadorned elegance. 

    The Ioannina Branch building dates back to the 1960s and is characterised by unadorned elegance. It was designed by the Bank’s Technical Service architect M. Kanakis. With a modern architectural concept, this building  clearly reflects its time, in a shift away from classical tenets. The layout follows the standard typology with a transaction hall and offices on the ground floor; supporting facilities on the underground level; and the residences of the manager and deputy manager on the upper floors. 

    The façades are clad in white Dionysos marble at ground floor level and in local beige Ioannina marble on the upper floors, while the exterior walls feature rusticated rendering. A wall to the right of the main entrance features a bas-relief (8.67m x 4.16 m), entitled “Pyrrhus and Dodona” by Paris Prekas.

    Kalamata Branch

    The Kalamata Branch is housed in the former Karellas mansion on King George II Square In 1979/80, the building was designated as a listed building by the Central Council of Modern and Contemporary Monuments.

    The Kalamata Branch is housed in the former Karellas mansion on King George II Square In 1979/80, the building was designated as a listed building by the Central Council of Modern and Contemporary Monuments.

    After suffering extensive damage in the 1986 earthquake, the building was restored  as it stands todayand has become a characteristic feature of Kalamata’s built landscape. 

    Kavala Branch

    The Kavala Branch building and the adjacent one were once tobacco warehouses prior to their purchase by the Bank. 
    The Kavala Branch building and the adjacent one were once tobacco warehouses prior to their purchase by the Bank. Before the war, the Technical Service architect K. Papadakis made extensive modifications to the one warehouse (the other was torn down), while later (in 1952) his colleague M. Kanakisrevamped  and made extensions to the building, redesigning its façades and giving it its present  style of modern classicism, similar to that seen in  most of the Bank’s premises.

    Komotini Branch

    The Komotini Branch is located  at the centre  of the city on land purchased in 1957 and belongs to the Bank’s post-1960 generation of buildings in a style influenced by new architectural trends. 
    The Komotini Branch is located  at the centre  of the city on land purchased in 1957 and belongs to the Bank’s post-1960 generation of buildings in a style influenced by new architectural trends. Designed by architect M. Kanakis of the Bank’s Technical Service, the building is cubic, comprising a ground floor, underground level and upper floor, with classical allusions in the main façade. In an contemporary article  in the local newspaper Proia , it was hailed as a “an excellent piece of modern-day  marble architecture”.

    Lamia Branch

    The Bank of Greece Lamia Branch is located  on Diakou Square, identified with a pivotal passway between the agora and the fortification wall of the ancient city of Lamia.

    The Bank of Greece Lamia Branch is located  on Diakou Square, identified with a pivotal passway between the agora and the fortification wall of the ancient city of Lamia. Built in 1927, it was acquired by the Bank in 1940 and operated as a branch for 40 years. After heavy damage caused bythe 1981 earthquake, the building was abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 1985, it was listed by the Ephorate of Modern and Contemporary Monuments as a historic building, “a fine example of traditional architecture, an important testimony of architectural  history, holding a significant place in the collective memory of the local community ”. In 1996, the Bank’s Technical Service embarked on a repair and restoration project. 

    Works conducted at the underground level brought to light the remnants of a public structure, possibly a fountain,dating back to the late classical or early Hellenistic period , as well as part of the ancient city’s fortifications. The decision was made to preserve these finds and showcase them on site, within the building. The branch reopened in 2003.

    Larisa Branch

    The Bank’s branch in Larisa, the most populous city and the heart of Thessaly, is housed in a building constructed  in 1940 by the Technical Service and differing from the Bank’s standard typology.

    The Bank’s branch in Larisa, the most populous city and the heart of Thessaly, is housed in a building constructed  in 1940 by the Technical Service and differing from the Bank’s standard typology.

    The main doorway, with its semi-circular fanlight and accentuated keystone, the horizontal parallel joints running along the façades and the polygonal ground plan are indeed singular and rather reminiscent of earlier public buildings in urban areas of Thessaly . Overall, the emerging style is not modernist, nor does it follow the classisist trends typical of the Bank’s other branches from the interwar and early post-war years.

    Mytilini Branch

    The Bank’s branch in Mytilini, on the island of Lesvos, similarly as its Samos counterpart,replaced the Bank’s Agency that had been operating there since 1929.

    The Bank’s branch in Mytilini, on the island of Lesvos, similarly as its Samos counterpart,replaced the Bank’s Agency that had been operating there since 1929. The branch was intended to support economic activity on this border island, and a prime site on the seafront was chosen for its construction. The establishment of a Bank of Greece branch was seen as important for the region and was  enthusiastically welcomed by the local community and press. The premises were inaugurated in 1949 by Governor Georgios Mantzavinos.

    The building was designed by the Bank’s Technical Service, probably by architects K. Papadakis and M. Kanakis, , in keeping with the tenets of interwar modern classicism, which incorporated neoclassical elements. The style is  clearly inspired by Greek antiquity.

    The Mytilini Branch remains a landmark to this day, as is the case with most of the Bank’s branches, and is a prominent feature of the city’s seafront landscape.

    The layout design envisaged a transaction hall and office spaces on the ground floor,, rooms for guests  on the mezzanine, and the manager’s residence on the top floor with  a separate entrance. 

    Patras Branch

    The new Patras Branch building is centrally located on the corner of Agiou Andrea and Kolokotroni Streets, on land purchased in 1970.

    The new Patras Branch building is centrally located on the corner of Agiou Andrea and Kolokotroni Streets, on land purchased in 1970. The building permit was issued in 1979, on the basis of plans  by  architects E. Dalaklis and N. Sapountzis of the Bank’s Technical Service, with M. Vourekas as consultant architect. Professor K. Moraitis was later added to the team.

    The new branch opened its doors in  2001. It is one of the Bank’s largest, with a total surfacearea of 4,630m2, and belongs to a new generation of premises designed in a modern style. It is “a building that adheres to the architectural dictates of its time”.

    The building has six floors, and its exterior is lined with covered sidewalks.   Its façades are fitted with glass panes, but are structurally defined by  a prominent concrete  grid that is characteristic of the period.

    Rhodes Branch

    The Bank’s Rhodes Branch is a singular case.

    The Bank’s Rhodes Branch is a singular case. It is located at Mandraki Harbour, in one of the most central spots of the city, next to equally impressive buildings dating from the same period. In close proximity to  the medieval town and the imposing  Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, it is intrinsically linked  to the history of the island. 
    The building, completed in 1930, was constructed during the Italian rule in the Dodecanese to house the local branch of Banca d’Italia. Following the Liberation, it was transferred to the Greek State and later, in 1952, it was sold to the Bank of Greece.

    Its blueprints are unsigned and were drawn up  in Rome. Eleven alternative versions by the same hand can be found in the Bank’s archives, showing  how the Italian architect had strived to integrate the building into the architecture of the Knights’ era.

    The lavish  interior decoration was meticulously designed to echo the island’s medieval past, while the large stained glass ceiling above  the main transaction hall, the marble floorings, the wooden counters, the furnishings and the light fittings successfully blend  the past with the present. All the interior spaces, murals, ceiling paintings, stained glass and wooden furniture and counters were made with great craftsmanship and attention to detail.

    The interior layout follows the same pattern seen in contemporary and later bank buildingsin Greece: vaults, archives and supporting facilities in the basement; a transaction hall, offices for the manager and staff on the ground floor; and manager’s residence on the first floor, with a separate entrance.

    The Bank’s Rhodes branch is a true architectural gem and a landmark of  the city and the island of Rhodes. Following extensive repair and restoration works  by the Bank’s Technical Service and Art Conservation Service, it has been brought back to its past splendour.

    Samos Branch

    The Bank’s Samos Branch was completed in 1945, soon  after the end of World War II. 

    The Bank’s Samos Branch was completed in 1945, soon  after the end of World War II. It replaced the Agency that had been operating there since 1929, as in the case of the Mytilini Branch. Its establishment  was intended to support economic activity in this border island, and a prominent site on the seafront was chosen  for this  branch as well.

    The building was designed between 1937 and 1939 by the architects of the Bank’s Technical Service, in a style  of interwar modern classicism that incorporated neoclassical elements. It has two storeys and a loft. The transaction hall is on the ground floor and the manager’s residence on the floor above. The entrance is asymmetrically placed to the left, allowing a better organisation of the ground plan.

    Serres Branch

    The rapid increase in tobacco production after 1922 necessitated the establishment of bank branches in the important tobacco-producing areas of Eastern and Central Macedonia.

    The rapid increase in tobacco production after 1922 necessitated the establishment of bank branches in the important tobacco-producing areas of Eastern and Central Macedonia.

    In 1937, the Bank purchased a plot of land with the intention to build a branch in the heart  of the city of Serres. However, construction did not begin until 1952 and was completed in 1954. The architect N. Zoumpoulidis, advisor to the Technical Service, worked on the plans, but overall the project was implemented under the design and supervision of K. Papadakis, D. Filippakis-Karantinos and M. Kanakis, all architectural engineers in the Bank’s Technical Service.

    In terms of form and style, the building is typical of the architecture  of the Bank’s early post-war regional branches. It is a two-storey cubic building with a penthouse and a basement. The transaction hall and offices are on the ground floor, while the manager’s residence and a guest room are on the upper floor.  The main façade is strongly symmetrical and structured in an  academic neoclassicist style.

    In 1997, the building was listed as a historic monument.

    Tripolis Branch

    The branch was designed in 1939-40 by architects K. Papadakis and D. Filippakis-Karantinos of the Bank’s Technical Service.
    The branch was designed in 1939-40 by architects K. Papadakis and D. Filippakis-Karantinos of the Bank’s Technical Service. It broadly follows the standard typology of the other branches in terms of form and  symmetrical façade. 

    Volos Branch

    The foundations of the Bank’s building in Volos were laid in 1933, and the branch was inaugurated in 1935. 

    The foundations of the Bank’s building in Volos were laid in 1933, and the branch was inaugurated in 1935.  It is one of the Bank’s most beautiful branches and the first designed and built by the Technical Service (on plans by M. Kanakis and T. Papantonopoulos). The classicist style chosen for the façade was characteristic of public architecture in the interwar period. 

    Its imposing presence  on the seafront, with its distinctive symmetrical façade, makes it a landmark for the city. It was designated as a listed monument by Culture Minister Melina Mercouri.

     Content Editor

    SOURCES:

    Images

    Υποκατάστημα Αλεξανδρούπολης/ Alexandroupolis Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Βόλου/ Volos Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Ηρακλείου/ Heraklion Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Ηρακλείου/ Heraklion Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Ιωαννίνων/ Ioannina Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Ιωαννίνων/ Ioannina Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Καβάλας/ Kavala Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Καλαμάτας/ Kalamata Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Καλαμάτας/ Kalamata Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Κομοτηνής/ Komotini Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Λαμίας/ Lamia Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Λαμίας/ Lamia Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Λαμίας/ Lamia Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Λάρισας/ Larisa Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Μυτιλήνης/ Mytilini Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Πάτρας/ Patras Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Πάτρας/ Patras Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Ρόδου/ Rhodes Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Ρόδου/ Rhodes Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Σάμου/ Samos Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Σερρών/ Serres Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Τρίπολης/ Tripolis Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Χανίων/ Chania Branch
    Υποκατάστημα Χανίων/ Chania Branch
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