Spanish speaking exiles found a welcoming haven in the Ottoman Empire in the late XV and early XVI centuries. The newcomers settled in central parts of the mainland, particularly around Salonika, turning the city into one of the most important ports in the Ottoman Empire. The Sephardim, who were innovative and radical, constituted the majority of the city’s population and developed communities with many institutions. Among them was the false messiah Sabbatai Zevi, whose presence and followers in Greece caused an emotional upheaval in the Jewish community the reactions to which continued until the XX century.

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עוד בבית אבי חי