Thessaloniki is a charming and modern city with a rich history and warm human face. It has about 1 million inhabitants and is the largest urban center in Northern Greece. Founded in 316 BC and has always been a hub of strategic importance to the economy and culture of Greece. As a crossroad between East and West, North and South with access to the Aegean played a key role in the historical developments of each period. The center of Thessaloniki starts from the harbor and ends at about the height of the White Tower, which is the landmark of the city.
The city is full of life 24 hours a day, all year round. Cultural life in Thessaloniki is pronounced with a variety of events, concerts, exhibitions, theaters, cinemas, festivals, etc. while the night here bears the stamp of the intense and varied entertainment at bars, clubs and restaurants. The gastronomy of the region is among the most famous in Greece.
Do not forget to visit the main monuments and museums of Thessaloniki and the city’s historical monuments, which are too many dating from the Hellenistic and Roman period, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman period, until the wars and struggles of modern Greek history. The most important of these are:
- The White Tower
- The Arch of Galerius, also known as Camara
- The Rotunda of Agios Georgios (Rotonda)
- The Ancient Agora or Roman Agora
- Museums ( Archaeological, Byzantine Culture , Folk Art – Ethnological and Macedonian Struggle, Jewish , Ataturk, Film , Photography , Technology , Sports , War , Contemporary Art, Water , etc. )
- The Byzantine Churches of the patron saint of the city St. Demetrios Myrovlytis , with relics of the saint and early Christian catacombs , the Agia Sophia was built in the 8th AD century copy of homonyms in Istanbul , the Acheiropiitos etc.
- The Route of St. Paul, from which the Apostle sent to the Thessalonians his teachings and sermons.
- Turkish baths and other Muslim monuments.
- Wander in the Upper Town (Ano Poli) with its narrow streets, old mansions, Byzantine monasteries and churches, Muslim monuments, the Eptapyrgio, the Acropolis and despotic castles. In traditional tavernas taste delicious appetizers and enjoy the unique sweets of Thessaloniki, enjoying stunning views over Thermaikos.
You can also visit:
- The International Fair of Thessaloniki (Helexpo) and the Convention Center I. Vellidis.
- The new sea front, which is the largest pedestrian walk in Europe, with beautiful theme parks and a variety of activities. Extends from the harbor to the boundaries of the Municipality Kalamarias where the Concert Hall is located and many cafes. You can board on boats that sail in Thermaikos and enjoy the panorama of the city from the sea.
- The Aristotelous Square and the Harbor of the city.
- The zoo and the Seih Sou Forest
- The Karabournaki , the summer palace of the King (Palataki), marina with yachts and nightlife
- The Queen Olga (Vasilissis Olga) street with the impressive neoclassical buildings (Hebrew, Italian, Austrian and Turkish) from the previous two centuries.
Do your shopping, watch theater, cinema, concerts and other cultural activities that abound in the city, try your luck at the Casino, enjoy the night and organize excursions to remarkable monuments of nature and people throughout Northern Greece:
- Archaeological Interest: Vergina, Pella, Dion, Stagira, Amphipolis etc.
- Religious Interest: Mount Athos, Meteora etc.
- Naturalist Interest: Olympus, Kastoria, caves Petralona, Aggitis and Alistratis, lakes Kerkini, Volvi and Doirani.
- Skiing: Elatohori, Falakro, 3-5 Pigadia, Lailia, Kaimaktsalan etc
- Resort: Loutraki Pozar, Nea Apollonia, Agistro, Sidirokastro, Agia Paraskevi
The White Tower
The White Tower is the symbol of Thessaloniki. Built in 1535, was the stronghold of the city to the sea, but it was also used as a prison and place of torture. After the liberation of the city, the tower was painted white to purify the blood and was renamed to “White Tower”. It has a cylindrical shape, height is about 35 meters and consists of six floors, with central circular hall, where exhibited historically significant findings. It is maintained in excellent condition and the view from the top is breathtaking.
The Arch of Galerius, also known as Camara
Built in 305 AD to celebrate the triumph of the Emperor over the Persians. From the original Arch only three poles and part of the upper stonework have survived. The two main pillars are covered with sculpted marble slabs. The structure initially was consisted of 4 main poles and 2 smaller ones on each side that supported the central structure. Through the arch was unable to access the palace of Galerius and Rotunda.
The Rotunda of Agios Georgios (Rotonda)
The Rotunda was built during the reign of Caesar Galerius, (around 306 AD), as a temple of Jupiter or Kabiris or otherwise, as mausoleum of his own. It owes its name in circular shape. It was linked to the Arch of Galerius and to his palaces with particular route. It has suffered many shocks from earthquakes and wars and numerous interventions over the centuries. It became a Christian church, mosque, museum and a place for cultural events.
The Ancient Agora or Roman Agora
The Ancient Agora was the center of the Roman city of Thessaloniki with public buildings, conservatory, galleries and entertainment venues. Spanning an area of about 20 acres between the existing road and Olympus Philip.
On display are rich collections of ancient Hellenistic and Roman history of Thessaloniki, great sculptures, sarcophagi and numerous gems, precious and everyday objects, crested treasures of Vergina and Derveni.
Museum of Byzantine Culture
The Museum of Byzantine Culture hosts collections of sculptures, frescoes, mosaics, pictures and inscriptions from the Byzantine era, that were found in the area, as the city of Thessaloniki was the main center, after Istanbul, of the European part of the Byzantine Empire. The permanent exhibition of the museum includes exhibits that present various aspects of Byzantine art from its heyday until the period that followed the capture of Instanbul by the Turks.
Folk Art and Ethnological Museum – Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
Folk Art and Ethnological Museum – Museum of the Macedonian Struggle considered one of the best of its kind and its exhibits include artifacts of recent history and architecture, which had spread throughout the Balkans, as well as artifacts from the battles which took place on early 19th century for the liberation of Thessaloniki. In addition, the museum houses costumes and objects of everyday life of the Greeks of the last 250 years.
Science Center and Technology Museum “NOESIS”
The Science Center & Technology Museum NOESIS was established in 2001 to promote knowledge and understanding of science, technology and technical culture. This ultra-modern museum, comprises an area of interaction, giant screen cinema screenings for scientific and environmental films in 3D, the digital planetarium where there is a representation of astronomical and physical phenomena and the simulator virtual reality as a journey in space or at the bottom of the ocean. It is the most modern museum of Thessaloniki. Just 10 minutes from Macedonia Airport of Thessaloniki.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, in the street St. Menas, is operating since 2001 in order to record the heritage of Sephardic Jews who relocated in Greece, after being exiled from Spain in the 15th century, bringing with them the Renaissance western culture of the Mediterranean. Whatever remained of the disastrous fire of 1917 and the whirlwind of World War II, such as tombstones, religious and ceremonial utensils, books, documents, costumes and utilitarian objects of everyday life, is showing the history of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki from the 3rd century BC to the Holocaust, which is reflected through a wealth of photographs and informative texts .
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was born in Thessaloniki. In 1935, the Thessaloniki City Council gave the Turkish state the house that lived Kemal Ataturk and it was converted into a museum dedicated to him. The building, which dates back to 1870, has 3 floors and courtyard. On the walls are pictures of Kemal from different periods of his life and all documents related to the school years Kemal.
The Cinema Museum
The Cinema Museum is located in the harbor area. It began operation in 1997, when Thessaloniki was “Cultural Capital of Europe” and it coincided with the worldwide celebration of 100 years of Cinema. It is an independent part of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and has the purpose of collecting, saving and exhibiting details of the cinematic life of Greece.
In the harbor area is also established and the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, which has the purpose of organizing exhibitions of Greek and international photography and the purpose of presenting the different uses and approaches. The reports are divided into cycles exhibition: Glimpses of the City””,”” great artist” Greeks of Diaspora”, etc. The Museum organizes Photobiennale, with participation of artists from around the world.
The museum opened in 1988 reflects the sporting history of Greece showing the cultural side of the sport. You can watch exhibitions and sporting events.
The State Museum of Contemporary Art
The State Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 1997 in order to record and promote the contemporary Greek art, to support the synthesis of the arts and enhance innovative and alternative proposals for the arts, using sophisticated digital technology in all areas of communication, development web-based applications and the creation of a web portal. The State Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in the northeastern wing of the complex of Lazaristes, in Stavroupoli Kolokotronis 21 Street.
Thessaloniki International Film Festival
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is organized every November in Thessaloniki, continuously since 1960. It is tradition for the city, making it known throughout Europe as of 1992 became International. Here you can see movies that do not run on other movie theaters that could integrate in the realm of alternative.