Thessaloniki, daughter of Philip II, sister of Alexander the Great, gave her name to one of the most important cities of ancient and modern Greek area. Thessaloniki is one of the most beautiful and romantic European cities, not unfairly called "Nymph of Thermaikos". A city that combines and integrates harmoniously its rich history with contemporary reality by providing its visitor with everything he looks for. It is no coincidence that the city is a top destination for anyone who chooses to visit Greece throughout the year. From archaeological sites, museums and theaters to luxurious accommodation, night clubs restaurants and taverns, Thessaloniki has managed to defend the title of the co-star satisfying all desires. Known for the hospitality, warmth and courtesy of its inhabitants, cannot leave even the most demanding visitor unsatisfied.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL-RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS AND AREAS
WHITE TOWER: Undoubtedly the trademark of the city and a dominant spot in its coastal zone. Today it operates as a museum while during the period 1450-1470, where it is believed to have been constructed, it was a fortification built on the site of a former Byzantine tower.
GALLERIO'S ARCH: Known as Kamara, it is located on the upper side of Egnatia Street and is one of the most emblematic monuments of the city, but also the most famous meeting point of the inhabitants. It was built in honor of Emperor Galerius in 305 AD and is part of the Galerian complex. It is worthwhile to pay attention to the reliefs found on the pillars.
ROTONTA: It was built around 304 AD and is a vaulted rounded building similar to the Pantheon of Rome, originally intended for the temple of Zeus or Mausoleum of Galerius. During the Byzantine period it was converted into a temple of the Assombled Forces and after the liberation of the city in 1912 it was dedicated to St. George. It is a cultural heritage site of UNESCO.
GALLERIO PALACE: Located on the southwest side of Navarino Square, it was built during the Roman Tetrarchy in honor of Emperor Galerius. Together with the Octagon, the Hippodrome, the arched hall (also located at Navarino Square), the Galerius Arch and the Rotonda, they consist the Galerium Rector's Complex.
ANCIENT ROMAN MARKET: It is a copy of the center of Rome, built at the end of the 2nd and early 3rd centuries AD. During the Roman period, when it was operating normally, it included a large rectangular square, an Auditorium - Parliamentary Hall with stands and a tent, as well as a multi-storey gallery. Additionally, there was also a bath complex consisting of a circular sweat room and twenty five baths. Major findings include mosaic floors, drains, silver coins and marble sculptures.
BYZANTINE BATHS: Located at the entrance of the traditional settlement of Ano Poli ,functioned as a bath for men and women. It is the only bath of this particular period that is preserved. During the Ottoman domination, it continued to function and was named as Koule Hamam. Its operation ceased in the 1940s and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
BYZANTINE WALLS: In their present form, the fortification walls built at the end of the 4th to the mid-5th century AD extend over a four-kilometer length. Originally the length was 8 meters and the height was 10-12 meters. On their northeastern side, the walls, climb to the Acropolis within which is the Eptapyrgio. The Byzantine walls of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
EPTAPYRGIO: Known as the Yedi Kule, it is located on the northeast side of the walls, including the Acropolis. It consists of the Byzantine Fortress and the newest prison buildings built in 1890.
TRIGONIO TOWER: Otherwise, the Tower of Alysis is located in the Ano Poli region. Together with the White Tower and the Vardari Tower, they were powerful forts of Turkish construction. The view that the spot offers is unique and worth visiting.
ANO POLI: The only settlement that remained sound after the great fire of 1917 and that is why it preserved its traditional elements. It is located in the north of the city and is worth visiting to explore both the traditional architecture and enjoy the amazing view it offers.
Thessaloniki, as a Byzantine co-star, is full of elaborate Byzantine temples, with many of them following an original architectural rhythm, which is rarely found in other areas. Typical examples are the church of Agia Sophia, the church of Agios Gregorios Palamas, the church of Agios Panteleimonas, the temple of Prophet Elias, Panagia Acheoporimitos, Panagia Halkeon, the church of Savior, the church of Saint Catherine, Temple of Saint David (Latomos Monastery) and others. It is worth noting that most of these temples are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
VLATADES MONASTERY : The Monastery is located in the Ano Poli region, very close to the walls of Eptapyrgion. It was probably built by Anna Palaiologina, in the middle of the 14th century. It is the only monastery of the Byzantine period that survives and works until today, while it is administratively owned by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Notable is the view of the area.
SAINT DIMITRIOS CHURCH: The temple of the patron saint of the city is a five-aisled basilica, with special features and situated on the road of the same name. It is a particularly imposing structure with the rows of columns and the distinct aesthetic value of capitals and the mosaics being the dominant features of its interior. An important point of the church is the place where the relics of the Saint are kept, as well as the underground catacombs - the site of the martyrdom of the Saint - where today there is a museum exhibition. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
METROPOLIS OF THESSALONIKI: At the intersection of two of the most central streets of the city - Agia Sophia and Mitropoleos - is the Metropolitan Church of Thessaloniki, dedicated to Saint Gregory Palamas. It is one of the most beautiful temples, combining Byzantine and neoclassical influences.
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST: At the junction of Makenzy King and Pavlos Mela streets, a few meters below the street level is located in a small oasis, the temple of St. John the Baptist. After the entrance to the temple, the feeling of transfer to another time is diffused. Below the courtyard there are underground arcades and a spring, discovered in 1892.
AGIA SOPHIA: The temple is dedicated to the Wisdom of God, as Hagia Sophia in Constantinople does. It is located in the heart of the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is built in the architectural type of a vaulted basilica, with its body drawing off an isosceles cross. Entering the temple one can see the historicity and uniqueness of the monument, as there are similar temples, but those are located in Constantinople. Previously, the temple functioned as a Metropolis.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM: It was founded in 1912 and is located on Manolis Andronikos Street in the center of the city. It hosts exhibits from both the excavations of Thessaloniki and excavations in the prefectures of Kilkis, Pieria and Chalkidiki. During the visit to the museum one recognizes the greatness of the Macedonian culture.
MACEDONIAN STRUGGLE MUSEUM: The museum is housed in a neoclassical building designed by Ernest Ziller on Proxenou Koromila Street, next to the Metropolis of Thessaloniki. It was founded in 1982. Among the exhibits there are documentes by the course of the struggle for the liberation of the city, the main phases of Macedonian history of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
FOLKLORE AND ETHNOGRAPHY MUSEUM OF MACEDONIA -THRACE: The purpose of the Museum is to study the traditional culture of the region of Northern Greece throughout the centuries. Today, in collaboration with other institutions, the Museum finds many ways of interacting with the public by organizing exhibitions, educational programs, etc.
WAR MUSEUM: Located in Aris Field, near the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture. It has a collection of all the crucial struggles of Greek history, from the Revolution of 1821 to the 1974 engagement in Cyprus. The building has a library with rich bibliography and amphitheater.
MUSEUM OF BYZANTINE CULTURE: The museum is located on the Army Avenue opposite Aris Field and was founded in 1994. Among the exhibits are exhibits on the Early Christian period in the Middle Byzantine period as well as the years after the Fall. The museum was received in 2005 the "Museum Award" from the European Council and its building is considered to be one of the best buildings of public architecture.
MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY: The museum was founded in 1987 and is housed on the 1st floor of the specially designed warehouse Α 'of the port of Thessaloniki. The Museum takes several actions promoting the art of photography while in cooperation with CEDEFOP has established an international prize and since 2008 it organizes the international Photobiennale photography festival. It is worth having a drink in the cafe of the area with the wonderful view to the coastal front of the city.
ATATURK MUSEUM: The home of Kemal Ataturk, the father of the Turks as his name is being interpreted, is located just behind the Turkish Consulate. The home now functions as a museum, with a multitude of Turkish tourists flocking to honor the reformer of the Turkish nation. The interior of the museum has remained virtually intact while many personal items and photos of Ataturk are being exhibited.
ARISTOTELOUS SQUARE: The central square of the city, with the characteristic shape of a bottle (in inspiration of Ernest Hebrard), a landmark in the city, meeting place, shopping and relaxation spot, with many entertainment options offered.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT STATUE: Located right next to the White Tower, the town beach and represents King Alexander III of Macedon on the faithful Bucephalus. Adjacent there is a bronze relief representation of the battle of Issus, and two rows of shields and sarissas symbolizing ordinary Macedonian soldiers who fought on the side of the Grand Commander. The statue is made of bronze with a total height of 11 meters, designed by sculptor Evangelos Moustakas.
OTE TOWER: Another trademark of the city with a height of 76 meters is located at the Thessaloniki International Fair. For several years it has been the exhibition stand of the Telecommunications Organization. It is worth visiting the café-restaurant with the wonderful view,which is hosted there.
STATE THEATER OF NORTHERN GREECE: One of the most important theater organizations in Greece and Europe. It was founded in 1961 and actively participates in the artistic activities of the city and of the country. It is housed in the imposing building on Ethnikis Amynis Street overlooking the seafront of the city.
INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF THESSALONIKI: It is an annual trade fair with global radiation, of importance both for the country and for Europe. It is held during the first week of September each year in an area of 180,000 sq.m in the city center and lasts for a week. It was first held in 1926, while Minister Nikolaos Germanos was the initiator.
THESSALONIKI MUSIC HALL: One of the best spots on the beach of the city is the imposing building of the Music Hall. It started operating in 2000 and is an integral part of the city's culture. You can enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the sea, in the lovely, specially designed area.
In addition to the Byzantine and Roman elements, Thessaloniki also has many buildings that testify to its history as part of the Ottoman Empire. So, walking along Egnatia Street, you will find the famous Loutra Bey Hamam, at Aristotelous Square and Alkazar or Hamza Bey Mosque. Opposite exactly, on Venizelos street, you will find the famous Bezesteni monument built by Sultan Mehmet II. To the north, on Kassandrou street, you will also find the Alatza Imaret which today works as a museum. On the east, on the Archaeological Museum Street, you will meet the Yeni Mosque, which for some time operated as an Archaeological Museum of the city. In Thessaloniki, there are many preserved buildings which in the past belonged to famous Turks or Jews from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Villa Bianca (today's Municipal Gallery), Villa Kapantzi (today's National Bank Cultural Foundation), Villa Mordeaux, Modiano Palace (today's Folklore-Ethnological Museum), Villa Allatini (now houses the Region of Central Macedonia) and others.
SHOPPING: The city center is an ideal shopping destination as it combines everything, satisfying even the most demanding ones. There are plenty of shops all over the center, with the most representative sample and the majority of them located on Tsimiski, Agia Sophia, Mitropoleos, Egnatia, Venizelou streets. On Tsimiski Street there is also the Odeon Square shopping center, where the cinema choice is also offered. For shopping in delicatessen, one can visit the Modiano market, but also Kapani for all kinds of purchases. For anyone who wants to move out of center, there are remarkable choices. East of the Prefecture in the 11th kilometer of Thessaloniki - Nea Moudania there is one of the largest shopping centers in the city, the Mediterranean Cosmos where there are many shopping and entertainment options. Close to the same area, there is the Mega Outlet Discount Center that offers branded products at good prices. West, the One Salonica Outlet Mall is located in the area of the city's railway station.
ENTERTAINMENT-FOOD : There are many entertainment and food options as the city has traditionally a good reputation in terms of taste, quality and quantity in the food. In the city center, one can enjoy a coffee or a drink in some of the many cafes located on Nikis Avenue, facing the sea. A lot of coffee, pastry shops and fast food are also available in Aristotelous Square. Do not forget to visit Ladadika either for food or for a drink. Scattered in the middle of the center, there are scenic ouzeries and taverns but also bistro. For those who prefer the view from above, the Ano Poli residence, to the north of the center and Panorama to the east - known for its sweet "triangles" - are ideal destinations. Excellent dining or drink options can also be found in the seaside area of Kalamaria and Nea Krini, east of the city center. As far as evening entertainment is concerned, Thessaloniki leaves no one complained, as it is famous for its nightlife. From the nightclubs on Niki Avenue, Valaoritou Street and the Port, to the bouzoukia in the area of the Airport (in the summer) or in the area of Vilka (in the winter) the choices are many. Gambling lovers can be delighted with the hospitality offered by the city's casino, the well-known "Regency Casino". Theater lovers can watch many performances that go up in the many theaters that the city has during both winter and summer. Very well-known theaters are the National Theater of Northern Greece, the Royal Theater (on the Alexander Avenue promenade), the theater of Dassous, the theater of Lazaristes Monastery, etc. There is also plenty of summer and non-cinema. Of course, a great role in the artistic life of the city and not only plays the famous Thessaloniki Film Festival.
Thessaloniki, in addition to a destination city, may well be a base town from where you can, in a short time, find yourself in other destinations, depending on your preferences. Very close to Thessaloniki, there are several ski resorts that are the top winter destinations. About 200 km northwest of Thessaloniki you will find the ski center of Vora-Kaimaktsalan and Vigla (about 300 km). To the east and to a further distance (about 100 km) you will find the 3-5 Pigadia and Seli ski resorts. A little further south, there are the ski center of Vasilitsa (about 240 km), the ski center of Pieria (about 100 km) and the ski center Olympus (about 180 km). In the northwest of Thessaloniki Prefecture, a popular tourist resort is Mount Falakro. For those who prefer nature excursions, they can choose to escape to some lakeside area such as Kerkini, Koronia and Volvi or to some riverside area like the National Park in Axios Delta.
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