Amphitheatrically built around Thermaikos Bay, the cosmopolitan city of Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and constitutes the most important centre of the wider area. It is situated on sea and land crossroads and constitutes a significant centre of attraction as a cultural metropolis of the Balkans. A modern city with irresistible charm and the aura of Vardaris, Thessaloniki is an ideal destination throughout the whole year and has some well-hidden secrets worth finding out
A walk at the capital of Macedonia will reveal roman monuments, beautiful Byzantine churches and neoclassical buildings to the visitors eyes. Its symbol, the White Tower, which once constituted part of the seafront fortification of the city, is now a Museum for the History and Art of Thessaloniki (currently not open to the public).
The famous and overcrowded market places of the city, Modiano and Kapani, overflow with scents and colours since they have any kind of foodstuff for the local people as well as the visitors.
Endowed with intense cultural heritage and internationally established museums, vivid artistic activity and tradition in good food, Thessaloniki has endless choices to offer to its visitor. A walk along the seafront promenade enjoying a dreamy sunset is an experience that noone should miss and will fill you with pictures strong enough to make all your problems disappear.
Prefecture of Thessaloniki
Covering an area of 3,683 square kilometres, Thessaloniki lies in central Macedonia . The area has much to offer to the tourist, from mountain resorts, such as Panorama, Hortiati and Asvestohori to delightful coastal resorts among others Aghia Triada, Nea Mechaniona.
The capital of Macedonia , and is second largest city in Greece . Kassandros established the city of Thessaloniki in 316 BC and named after the sister of Alexander the Great. Like the rest of Greece , the city has undergone many changes due to the influence of foreign powers. Today the city is a vibrant, cosmopolitan and cultural centre for the region. Wide avenues lined with trees, lead you through the city with its array of hotels and shops. A myriad of cafes, tavernas and restaurants line the streets and squares tempting you to taste their wares. The upper city (Ano-Poli) is very different; quaint houses line the narrow lanes, a charming place in which to explore.
Around the city
There a wide range of museums, sights and ancient churches to see, here are just a few of them;
The White Tower once called the Bloody Tower due to some servants of the ruling Turkish sultan had them massacred in the tower. After the war of independence, the tower was white washed in an attempt erase the towers gruesome history. Today the White Tower has been restored to its original condition, is now the city’s symbol, and used for exhibitions you can walk up the circular stairs to the café and admire the view from the top.
The Archaeological Museum, the museum has many excellent displays, the Pre-historic Thessaloniki display, has a wide range of tools and other items, excavated from burial tombs dating from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze Age. The Ancient & Byzantine Macedonia display features gold wreaths and jewellery also found in tombs. The star attraction is the Derveni Crater, dating from 330-320 BC, this bronze and tin vessel decorated with reliefs of mythical figures, originally it was for mixing water and wine, later as a burial urn.
The Museum of Ancient Greek & Byzantine Instruments, has an extensive display featuring musical instruments from antiquity and up to the 19 th century.
The Eptapyrgio, this former prison on the top of the Kastra, last used to incarcerate habitual criminals in 1989, had a reputation as being a rather grim place in which to serve your sentence.
The Kastra, with its narrow streets lined with old houses, are all that remain of 19yh century Thessaloniki . From the top, you get wonderful views over the area.
The Museum of Jewish Presence , this poignant museum, tells the history of the Jewish community that once worked and lived in the city for over 700 years, up to WW2.
The city has few remains of ancient ruins, but has churches in abundance, dating from the Byzantine and Roman periods. Many of these churches are on the World Heritage list of significant buildings. During the Turkish invasion, the churches became mosques. Since then they have been reverted to their former glory.
The Church of Agios Dimitrios is the largest church in Greece , built on the site where the distinguished scholar and Christian, Dimitrios was murdered on the instructions of Emperor Galerius. The Emperor was a merciless man and a non-believer in Christianity and persecuted any one who did. It is alleged the ghost of Dimitrios, has appeared in times of battles in the city, and on seeing him the invaders fled in panic. Along with these visitations, and the supposed miracles on the site of his death, resulted in Dimitrios being elevated to sainthood.
The Crypt, north of the church, is the place where St. Dimitrios was imprisoned and tortured.
The Galerian Arch built to commemorate the victory over the Persians in 297 by the Emperor.
The Church of Agia Sophia , emulates the renowned church in Istanbul , has an outstanding mosaic of the Ascension.
The Rotunda, the oldest of the city’s churches, it was planned to be a mausoleum for the Emperor Galerius, but it never fulfilled this intention. The minaret is a reminder of when the church was a mosque.
Archaeological sites , the Roman Baths, Palace of Galerius and the Roman Market and Theatre are worth a visit, though some sites are still undergoing excavations, and therefore closed to the public. Take a guided tour around this fascinating city and enjoy the variety of sights.
Festivals and Fairs, the International Trade fair, in October followed by the Cultural Festival, which ends on 26 th of October when the festival for St. Dimitrios is celebrated
- Area code: +30 2310
- Thessaloniki Bus Station (for all Greece): 2310 500111
- Thessaloniki Bus Station (Kifissos, Athens Central Bus Station): 210 5148856 /5150025
- Attiki Bus Station (Mavromataion str., Omonoia): 210 8225148/ 8226345
- Radiotaxi: 2310
- Thessaloniki International Airport Macedonia : 2310 985000
- OSE Train Station: 2310 517517-8
- Thessaloniki Central Port: 2310 531504-5-7
- Athens O.A : 210 9616161
- Thessaloniki O.A. : 2310 260121-9
- Aegean Airlines: 26610 27100, 801 11 20000
- Tourist Administration of Central Macedonia Periphery
- 1. Thessaloniki Information Office: 2310 221100
- 2. Thessaloni International Airport Macedonia Office: 2310 471170
- 3. Websites: www.rcm.gr & www.nath.gr
- Tourist Police: 2310 554871
- Thessaloniki Aeroclub: 2310 476000 473747
- Thessaloniki Sailing Club: 2310 830939
- Thessaloniki Nautical Club: 2310 414521