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Thessaloniki – North Greece

THESSALONIKI

About Thessaloniki

Warm and generous, Thessaloniki is at the same time historic and avant-garde: the second-largest city in Greece, ideal for a city break, a mosaic of cultures and fascinating holiday moments

Located in Macedonia, in Northern Greece, there is a city unlike anywhere else in Greece. Thessaloniki is a sprawling urban centre, a cultural melting pot, where dreams, ideas, visions and trends percolate in an alternative, avant-garde scene. Its history is written upon everything you see the Thermaic Gulf, the White Tower, Nikis Avenue, Aristotelous Square, Mitropoleos Avenue, Tsimiski Avenue, Ladadika, Modiano Market, Bit Bazaar and the Old City.

For thousands of years, this northern port-town has been a meeting point for people of different cultures. Impressive attractions, cafes, bars, traditional tavernas, gourmet restaurants, a lively nightlife – you’ll find everything here in Thessaloniki, the beautiful ‘bride of the Thermaic Gulf’.

 

Thessaloniki, multicultural centre
Trace the civilisations and peoples that have left their mark on this great city of Thessaloniki. The Palace, the Triumphal Arch and the impressive Rotunda offer an insight into the reign of emperor Galerius Maximilianos (early 4th century) and formed the city’s administrative and religious centre in Roman times. Or the Jewish Museum, in an elegant listed building from 1904 on Agiou Mina Street, recreating the life of the Jewish community in pre-war Salonica and its subsequent extermination by the Nazis. Finally, don’t forget to visit the former home of Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.

Or wander the narrow lanes of Ano Poli, one of the oldest districts of Thessaloniki, above the modern town. There you’ll admire the numerous attractions, most of which are castles and religious monuments; the Trigoniou Tower, with its amazing view; the Eptapyrgio fortifications; Ottoman monuments; the Vlatades monastery and the Byzantine churches of Osios David and Agios Nikolaos Orfanos. This is the most unspoilt district of the old city. And let’s not forget, of course, the iconic 16th century White Tower, by Aristotelous Square in the city centre.

 

Travel to a fun and vibrant city
The White Tower, Ano Poli, Aristotelous Avenue, shopping on Tsimiski Street, bar hopping on Valaoritou Avenue, the International Film Festival held in the warehouses of the port, live music at Ladadika’s eateries, walks through the vaulted arches and the open-air markets, visits to museums and Byzantine monuments… the ideal city-break destination.

In the city centre, the atmosphere is filled with a youthful energy, all day and all night. With every step you’ll discover hidden treasures; historic cafes, cosy bars, as well as clubs with impressive designs in renovated industrial spaces and music venues in old warehouses, hosting live rock concerts. Nightlife is one of the city’s strengths. Follow the locals to their favourite haunts, and let them guide you through Thessaloniki’s secrets, sure to satisfy all styles and tastes. In this city in Northern Greece, fun is a local tradition, just like the warm soup you’ll be served when the sun comes up.

 

Gastronomy of Thessaloniki
Leaving Thessaloniki, you’ll take with you thousands of memories, and a few (worthwhile) kilos. High-end restaurants and historic eateries, trendy dining options, as well as out-of-the-way ouzeris, tavernas and all-day restaurants will offer you a lifetime’s worth of foodie fun. Istanbul and Pontos, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, Macedonia and Thrace… all these cultures will make their way onto your plate.

 

An experienced business tourism destination
Thessaloniki, the business hub of the Balkans, also offers excellent infrastructure. The city hosts several major exhibitions and conferences every year, including the International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki International Exhibition.

Your off-duty needs will also be well-covered with good food and entertainment options, rich history and culture, excellent museums, popular pedestrian walkways and brand-name shopping. Spectacular, internationally-renowned archaeological sites of Greece are easily accessible from Thessaloniki, at Philippi, Pella, Ancient Dion and Vergina.

Also, while being in Thessaloniki it is worth going up to Halkidiki.

The ancient forum (dated to the late 2nd or the early 3rd century AD) with squares, porticoes, additional buildings and odeum (293-395 AD), the palace complex of Galerius Maximianus (4th c. AD), the thermae, the hippodrome, the temples and other monuments and moveable finds (among them mosaics of exquisite art) brought to light in excavations and surveys. In the south square, is the famous Stoa of the Idols, which was two-storeyed and lavishly decorated.

The Triumphal Arch of Galerius (Kamara), built in AD 305 to commemorate his military successes in general in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.

The Rotonda is an early 4th century building which later was converted into a Christian church.

Thessaloniki, with its host of Byzantine monuments (due to it’s significance during the Byzantine period), justifiably is considered an open-air museum of Byzantine art. Wandering through the city, it is worthwhile to see:

The churches of Acheiropoietos (5th century) a three-aisled, timber-roofed basilica, the Holy Wisdom of God (Hagia Sophia) (7th century), the Panaghia (Virgin) Chalkeon (1028), Hosios David (12thcentury), St Panteleemon (late 13th or the early 14th century), is of four-columned cross-in-square type, Ayioi Apostoloi (1310-1314),Taxiarches (14th century), Panagouda a three-aisled basilica with significant icons, Agios  Ioannis Prodromos (Nymphaion),Vlatadon monastery a 14th century foundation of which only the katholikon and two cisterns within the precinct survive, Ayios Demetrios a splendid basilica dedicated to the patron saint and protector of the city, etc.

The byzantine walls of the city.

The archaeological site in 3 Septemvriou St., with remnants of a cemetery basilica, a martyrion and Early Christian graves.

The byzantine bathhouse (late thirteenth century).

The Heptapyrgion castle was raised in stages, from the early years of the Byzantine Age into the Ottoman period.

 

Ottoman Monuments

The White Tower (15th century), the hallmark of the city.

The Mosques of the Hamza Bey Cami (15th century), the Aladja Imaret Cami (1484) and the Yeni Cami  (1902).

Hamams (turkish bathhouses): The Pazar Hamam (15th century), the Pasha Hamam (15th century), Bey Hamam (16th century), Yeni Hamam and the Yahudi Hamam.

Bezesteni, a rectangular building with lead-covered domes and four entraces was built in the late fifteenth century and operated as a cloth market.

Discover neighbourhoods and focal points in the city.

The Old City (Ano Polis), in which many notable examples of Ottoman and traditional Macedonian architecture still stand, alongside humble dwellings put up by the refugees who reached Thessaloniki in droves, after the Greek defeat in Asia Minor, in 1922.

The historical quarter of the Ladadika. In recent years, a series of interventions to rehabilitate the urban fabric have helped to enhance the Ladadika as a quarter for leisure pursuits.

The traditional markets: the Modiano, which is housed in a rectangular building of 1922, with pedimented facade and glass roof; the Kapani or Vlalis market; Athonos Square and the ‘Louloudadika’ (literally flower market).

Vasilissis Olgas Avenue, lined with many representative Neoclassical buildings and examples of late 19thcentury eclectic architecture.

The central Aristotelous Square, surrounded by monumental buildings and open to the waterfront for a width of 100 metres.

Other monuments and buildings in the city:

Mylos (literally mill). An old industrial complex, built in 1924, today have been remodelled to house cultural events and leisure activities, as well as the industrial buildings of the old FIX Brewery and the VILKA plant.

Lazarist monastery (1886) by the monastic order of the Brothers of Mercy, and now used for cultural events.

Royal Theatre

Thessaloniki Concert Hall. A newly-built, magnificent yet austere, multipurpose venue for cultural and other events.

YMCA Building, a building of 1924, with a mixture of Neocolonial and Byzantesque architectural elements.

It’s worth seeing the Archaelogical Museum, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Folk and Ethnographic Museum, the State Museum of Contemporary Art, the Teloglion Foundation of Art, the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum, the Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum, etc.

During each year, Thessaloniki hosts significant cultural and commercial festivities, such as the Thessaloniki International Fair (every September), the International Thessaloniki Film Festival (every November) and the International Book Fair (every May).

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