Thessaloniki (Macedonia)

As Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki (also called Salonica) offers the best nightlife, shopping, fine dining and cultural events outside of Athens, and, being northern Greece’s central transport hub, Thessaloniki also has convenient connections within the region and with neighbouring countries. As with Athens, the enduring symbols of a glorious history are visible here. These include the White Tower, watching over the cafe-lined waterfront, erstwhile Ottoman hammams (Turkish baths), many turned into art galleries, and lengthy Byzantine walls culminating at the Ano Poli (Upper Town), an enchanting neighbourhood of colourful old houses, where little Byzantine churches peek from winding alleyways. Thessaloniki’s grandscale structures include the 5th-century Church of Agios Dimitrios, the enormous Roman Rotunda, and Roman Emperor Galerius’ 3rd-century palace ruins. The northernmost Byzantine walls of the city and parts of the western walls are still standing, as is the city’s symbol – the White Tower, one of the 16th Century. AD fortified towers – which is the only surviving tower on the seafront. The rest of the walls are in the picturesque Upper Town which offers a spectacular view over the bay, especially in the late afternoon. Take a walk along the enormous seafront promenade (about 12 km altogether). See the the Roman Forum excavations. Visit the upper town for its traditional old houses, small cobbled streets, Byzantine citadel, the Eptapyrgion fort. The very lively and youth-oriented international film festival is held in November, the International Trade Fair in September. On no account should you miss the Byzantine churches built between the 5th and 14th century ACE, such as Agios Demetrios, (7th Century. ACE) and Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdome, 9th Century. ACE), and many lovely smaller ones in the upper town (St Nicolaos Orfanos is particularly worth a look for its frescoes), which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of them, the Rotunda, started life as a Roman temple of Zeus, built by ceasar Galerius, and is almost as old as the Pantheon in Rome. Next to the Rotunda, see the Arch of Triumph of Galerius and the ruins of his palace. Also interesting are the Turkish public baths Bey Hamam, the Bezesteni (Ottoman closed market for jewellery and precious materials) the Alatza Imaret (Ottoman poorhouse) and Hamza Bey Camii (both restored and used for exhibitions). The traditional central food market, with hundreds of stalls selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheap clothes and shoes, flowers, herbs and spices, between Aristotele Square and Venizelou street.

Due to the city’s rich and diverse history, Thessaloniki houses many museums dealing with many different eras in history. Two of the city center’s most famous museums include the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Museum of Byzantine Culture, which also the buildings themselves serve as points of architectural interest. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki was established in 1962 and houses some of the most important ancient Macedonian artifacts, including an extensive collection of golden artwork from the royal palaces of Aigai and Pella. It also houses exhibits from Macedon’s prehistoric past, dating from the Neolithic to the Bronze age. Adults €6, children free. The Museum of Byzantine Culture is one of the city’s most famous museums, showcasing the city’s glorious Byzantine past. The museum was also awarded Council of Europe’s museum prize in 2005. The museum of the White Tower of Thessaloniki houses a series of galleries relating to the city’s past, from the creation of the White Tower until recent years. Other museums of the city include the Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum, in southeast Thessaloniki and is one of the most high-tech museums in Greece and southeastern Europe and the Atatürk Museum the historic house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern-day Turkey, was born. Thessaloniki is also a major college town, fleshed out by some 80,000 university students who enliven the city’s innumerable cafes, restaurants and bars. Thessaloniki thus remains lively during the long months when the more touristy parts of Greece hibernate.


DISTANCES

Athens-Thessaloniki= 504km
Thessaloniki-Kavala= 158km
Thessaloniki- Kastoria= 190km


  • Validity of package

  • All year round


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