The beauty of the North!
An ever-young city with a history of 2,300 years!
Thessaloniki or Salonica, the second largest city in Greece, is the only European city with an uninterrupted history of 2,300 years, during which it has always been an urban centre with robust city life.
Thessaloniki is the most strategic port of Southeastern Europe and a historical palimpsest, as it contains monuments from the Macedonian era, as well as the Grecoroman, the Byzantine, the Ottoman and the modern ones. Many of its buildings and churches have been declared world heritage monuments. Today, it has a population of around 1.5 million.
In close proximity one can find Mount Athos; enchanting Chalkidiki; Olympus, the mountain of Gods; and Pella, the capital of the Macedonian Kingdom of Alexander the Great. Located in the greater area are also the ancient Greek Amphipolis; the island of Thassos; the city of Kavala; and the city of Kastoria with its 200 byzantine churches and its lake. Thessaloniki rests in a privileged area with long tradition in multiculturalism and tolerance, cosmopolitism and exploration. It has been a “co-reigning” Byzantine city, second to Constantinople, for 1,000 years.
Today, it is a modern, bustling European city with a strong university community, encompassing all the impressive elements of its historical adventure and visited by many tourists all year round; a city that is constantly developing, without ever losing its multifaceted historical character, its mystery or allure.
A few highlights:
The White Tower
The White Tower is perhaps the most recognizable spot in Thessaloniki. Depicted on all types of souvenirs and photographed from all angles, all-year-round and at each hour of the day, it has become an archetypal image. With its distinctive cylindrical shape, its six storeys and its memory-charged history, it has become the city’s trademark. An absolute must-see.
The New Waterfront of Thessaloniki
Residents and visitors can enjoy a walk or a run along the Waterfront of Thessaloniki, which is about five kilometers in length, from the Concert Hall to the port. The waterfront is linear and relatively limited in width, giving it the characteristics of a narrow beachfront.
The sea of the Thermaikos Gulf and the sky create a beautiful scene, with ephemeral and mutable elements creating a different atmosphere each passing moment. The breakwater is an ideal place for walking or biking and inside the waterfront there are 13 green spaces, created as a succession of “green rooms – gardens”, each with a special thematic characteristic.
It is a beautiful walkable area and one of the favourite destinations of both local and tourists. The word Ladadika literally means the shops that sell oil and its products. The area used to be the central market and bazaar of the city during the ottoman occupation or even earlier. It was also known as “Egyptian Market”. In 1985 it was declared a historical monument by the Ministry of Culture; the entire area was protected by law in order to preserve its original style and character.
Today, Ladadika is one of the hot spots of Thessaloniki when it comes to entertainment: Espresso bars, coffee shops, tavernas, beer stores and so on can be found here. The entire area is for pedestrians only, so you can take your time, walk around and take a look until you spot the perfect place for you.
Find out more: http://www.inthessaloniki.com/en/food/by-area/ladadika
The Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios
It is arguably considered the most important church of Thessaloniki by most locals for religious, historical and artistic reasons. Devoted to the patron Saint of the city, it has a long and rich history that pretty much depicts some of the city’s most important events of that shaped its identity.
The church is a fine sample of Byzantine religious architecture of the late early period of the Empire (7th century A.D.). Perhaps the most famous and interesting part of it, is the underground ancient crypt, which has been restored as an exhibition/museum.
Find out more: http://www.inthessaloniki.com/en/agios-dimitrios
The Church of Agia Sofia
The Paleo – Christian temple of Agia Sophia is one of the most impressive Byzantine churches of Thessaloniki. Having a history of 1,600 years, it can easily be considered one of the most important religious sites in Macedonia. The temple of Agia Sofia is one of several city’s monuments included as a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list, in 1988.
Around Agia Sofia plaza, one can find various places worth a visit, whether interested in shoping, having a drink, or just enjoying a cup of coffee.
Read more: http://www.inthessaloniki.com/en/agia-sofia
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
One of the largest museums in the country and the central museum of northern Greece. It is only a breath away from the seafront and very close to other museums and archaeological sites. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is easily accessible via public transport from every part of the city. Due to the city’s rich Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine history, it hosts a variety of exhibits that will impress every visitor.
Find out more: https://www.amth.gr/en/visit
The Museum of Byzantine Culture
Awarded the Council of Europe’s Museum Prize for the year 2005, it is housed in a building that is considered one of the best works of public architecture created in the last decades in Greece. Hundreds of unique exhibits and artifacts from the entire Byzantine period are displayed in several different rooms. The Museum has a rather imposing atmopshere and the presentation of the exhibits are well organized and informative.
Find out more: http://mbp.gr/en
The War Museum of Thessaloniki
It hosts in its exhibitions more than 10.000 relics composing the modern history of Greece. Starting with the pre-evolution years and ending with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, in 1974, visitors have the opportunity to relive the Greek War of Independence, the Balkan Wars as well as the two World Wars. Visitors can also interact with exhibits belonging to different nations that took part in all the eras whether as enemies or allies of the Greek Armed Forces.
Find out more: http://warmuseumthess.wixsite.com/english/welcome
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
It was founded to honour the rich and creative Sephardic heritage that came to Thessaloniki from Spain as it evolved in the city after the 15th century. The Museum is housed in one of the rare Jewish structures that survived the fire of 1917. Located in the very heart of Thessaloniki, this imposing building has at times housed the Bank of Athens and the offices of the Jewish newspaper “Independent” and is a silent witness to the vibrant Jewish presence that once filled the city’s streets with the language of Cervantes.
Other monuments include: The Arch of Galerius (298-299 AD), the Rotonda of Galerius (306 AD), the Roman Forum (Ancient Agora), Bezesteni Market, Bey Hamam, Heptapyrgion, Villa Bianca – Municipal Art Gallery, Villa Kapantzi.
Find out more: http://www.inthessaloniki.com/en/must-see-in-thessaloniki