Battleship ‘Averoff’ to remain in Thessaloniki until early December

The historic Greek armoured cruiser “Averoff” – now a floating museum – is to remain open to the public in the city of Thessaloniki until December 3, at the request of authorities in northern Greece. The ship sailed to Thessaloniki from Athens, traversing the Aegean for the first time in 70 years, for the October 28 national holiday.

Visiting hours until its departure will be from 9:00-13:15 and 15:00-17:30 on all days of the week except Monday, when the ship will be closed to the public. Large groups, such as schools and associations, must book in advance, up until December 1. On the weekend of December 2-3 the ship will be open for the general public but not large groups.

Visitors will tour the ship in groups of up to 40 people each time.

No visitors will be allowed on board from Monday, December 4 and until the ship’s departure.

The ship is known as the ‘Battleship Averoff’ – even though it is actually the last Pisa-class armoured cruiser to be commissioned in the world following the advent of the battlecruiser. It is the most historic ship in the Greek navy and also flies the second-most historic flag in the country (which has never been lowered), following the flag flying on the Athens Acropolis.

She is named after the wealthy Greek benefactor George Averoff, who helped Greece raise the money used for the downpayment to buy the vessel.

The “Averoff” is credited with successfully closing off the Aegean Sea to Ottoman transports bringing fresh troops and supplies to the front during the First Balkan War. This success had a concrete impact on the land action, where the Ottoman forces suffered decisive defeats. It is hypothesised that, in the absence of such decisive control of the sea by the Greek Navy, the Ottoman Empire might have reinforced its forces on the Balkan Peninsula and therefore fared better in the war.