Thessaloniki was founded in the 3rd century BC. e. Since then, the city has repeatedly become the scene of significant historical events. Moreover, Thessaloniki remains an important center of Christianity - the Apostle Paul preached here and the enlighteners Cyril and Methodius were born. The architectural heritage of the city is priceless, despite the fact that the historical quarters were destroyed during a fire in 1917. The vast majority of city churches and monasteries of the Byzantine period are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Thessaloniki is a popular Aegean resort and the cultural capital of Greece. Local beaches are marked with a "blue flag" for cleanliness, comfort and convenience for tourists. Throughout the year, the city hosts many colorful festivals and interesting events. Architectural monuments of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras are located right in the middle of residential areas.
What to see and where to go in Thessaloniki?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
Presumably, the building was erected in the 10th century, as evidenced by the preserved inscription on one of the walls. For centuries, the tower was part of the fortress fence that separated the residential areas from the cemetery. It reaches a height of 27 meters, the diameter of the ring of walls is 23 meters. In 1912, the building was painted white and received its modern name. Today, the tower houses a museum.
The place where all the tourist routes of Thessaloniki begin. The street is located on the site of the city walls demolished in the 19th century. It stretched from the White Tower to the port. The embankment runs along the very edge of the water. On the shore are a busy avenue and hotels. Bicycle paths and pedestrian alleys are equipped for tourists, as well as cozy green squares where you can relax from the midday heat.
The central square of Thessaloniki, which finally took shape at the beginning of the 20th century, when the entire city underwent a large-scale reconstruction after a fire. Concerts, festive events, political rallies and other public events are constantly held here. The monumental neoclassical buildings of the Electra Palace hotels and the Olympion cinema are located on Aristotelous Square.
Monument to Alexander the Great
The monument is located on the city embankment in the immediate vicinity of the White Tower. The inhabitants of Thessaloniki have a special relationship with the personality of Alexander the Great. It was during his reign that the city reached its maximum prosperity. The figure of the king is seated on a rearing horse. On a wide pedestal, behind the statue of Macedonian, spears with shields are fixed, on which symbolic images are applied.
Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
The museum was opened in 1962 in a building designed by P. Karantinos. The exposition covers a wide period of the history of Macedonia in general and the city in particular. A greater number of artifacts were found as a result of excavations. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is considered one of the best in Greece. Many valuable artifacts are several hundred years old, they are of great value for history.
Military Museum of Thessaloniki
The museum has been operating since 2000. The exposition is located in a building from the beginning of the 20th century; it is considered part of the collection of the Military Museum of Athens. Artifacts and documents relating to various events that took place in the history of Greece are placed here: the Balkan Wars, the Greco-Italian War, the Greek Revolution, the First and Second World Wars. The museum has a library where publications of the Greek Defense Ministry are stored.
Museum of Byzantine Culture
The museum was established in 1994 under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Greece. The exposition, as the name suggests, is dedicated to the cultural history of the Byzantine Empire. The collection is housed in several themed rooms. The decision to establish the museum was made in 1913. During the First World War, all artifacts were taken to Athens for security purposes. The assembly returned to its place only after several decades.
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
The museum's collection is devoted to aspects of the armed conflict of 1904–1908. and its consequences (the struggle of Greece for the region of Macedonia). It is located in a 19th century neoclassical building designed by E. Ziller. Among the exhibits there are weapons, personal belongings of the leaders of the struggle, books, newspapers, valuable archival documents. The museum organizes group tours and educational lectures.
House Museum of Ataturk
The famous Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in Thessaloniki in 1881, when the city was part of the Ottoman Empire. The house where he spent his childhood and youth was turned into a museum in the middle of the 20th century. It was here that the reformer discussed the ideas of a free democratic state with his associates. All furnishings, pieces of furniture, documents, personal belongings of Ataturk in the building are authentic.
Science Center and Museum of Technology
The museum was organized in 1978 in order to popularize scientific discoveries and research. The exposition contains various technical mechanisms and devices that people have been inventing since ancient times. The museum also has a digital planetarium, a virtual attraction and an interactive technology park where you can explore various natural phenomena in action.
The exposition opened in 2000 on the territory of a neoclassical building from 1904, which previously housed the Bank of Attica. The structure miraculously survived the devastating fire that engulfed the city in 1917. The collection is dedicated to everyday and cultural aspects of the life of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki. An impressive part of the collection tells about the events of the Holocaust that swept Europe in the 1930s and 40s.
Basilica of Saint Demetrius
A temple erected on the site of ancient Roman baths in the 4th century (according to one of the generally accepted versions). The first building of the basilica existed until the 7th century, then it was destroyed by earthquakes and fires. In the XIV century, a mosque was placed in the temple. Christian services resumed at the beginning of the 20th century. During the fire of 1917, the building was badly damaged and was reconstructed by 1950. The relics of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica are kept in the temple.
Church of Hagia Sophia
An Orthodox church listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed that the first basilica on this site appeared in the 5th century. In the 8th century, a building was erected that has survived to this day. In the 11th century, the temple was rebuilt and significantly expanded, from the 15th to the 20th centuries. it was used as a mosque. After the return of Thessaloniki to Greece following the results of the First Balkan War, the church was again transferred to the Christian community.
An Orthodox monastery founded in the 14th century with the active assistance of the Byzantine empress Anna Palaiologos, who at that time settled in Thessaloniki. The main cathedral of the monastery is a magnificent architectural monument of the Byzantine era, which survived several centuries and has been preserved in excellent condition. The rest of the buildings belong to later periods.
Monastery of Latomu
The monastery is located in the central part of Thessaloniki. It was founded in the 5th-6th centuries, but the ancient buildings have not survived to this day. Like many other Christian monasteries and churches, the main temple of Latom was turned into a mosque under the Ottoman Turks and existed in this capacity until the beginning of the 20th century. During restoration work, frescoes of the 12th century were discovered under a layer of plaster.
Church of St. Nicholas Orfanos
The main cathedral of the Vlatadon monastery, dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (Orphanos). The foundation of the temple dates back to the beginning of the 14th century. The internal wall painting of the church is well preserved due to the fact that the walls were covered with plaster (the temple was used as a mosque until the 17th century). The building is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a valuable monument of early Christian architecture.
Church of St. Panteleimon
Byzantine temple of the XIII century, which is located in the center of Thessaloniki. From all sides it is surrounded by modern quarters. Despite the fact that the church is included in the UNESCO register, it has not been fully restored. In some places, the building has a rather neglected appearance, but this does not detract from its architectural value. The interior has been lost, with only a few original frescoes remaining.
Church of Panagia Chalkeon
A picturesque cross-domed church of the early Christian period, erected in the 11th century. The building of the church is built of red brick. After the passage of Thessaloniki back to Greece in 1912, the temple stood abandoned until the 1930s. During the restoration work, the church of Panagia Halkeon acquired its original appearance. Unfortunately, the internal painting of the walls is not very well preserved.
Arch of Galeria
An architectural monument of the Roman era, which is part of the burial complex of Emperor Maximilian Galerius, who ruled in the III-IV centuries. In the 5th century, the building was converted into a church; since the 14th century, a mosque has been located here. Only part of the stone wall with bas-reliefs and two arched passages has survived to this day. Arch of Galeria is one of the most significant architectural monuments of Thessaloniki.
Construction of the early III century, presumably built in honor of the pagan god Zeus. According to another version, this is the memorial complex of Emperor Maximilian Galerius. In the 4th century the building was converted into a church, in the 16th century it was turned into a mosque of Sheikh S.Kh. Efendi. In the period 1912–1978. on the territory of the rotunda there was an exhibition of Byzantine and early Christian sculpture.
Greek Agora and Roman Forum
The ancient Roman forum was discovered in the 1960s. as a result of excavations of the central part of Thessaloniki. Even earlier, the Greek agora was located here - a wide square surrounded by temples, public buildings and craft workshops. From ancient buildings, the theater has been preserved, which, after restoration, began to be used for concerts, as in the days of ancient Greece and Rome.
The northern part of the fortress was built in the 4th century under Emperor Theodosius I (according to an alternative version - in the 9th century), the southern part appeared much later - in the 12th century. Until the 19th century, the fort was used for military purposes, then a prison was placed on its territory. Since the late 1980s the building was transferred to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In 1995, the first phase of the archaeological excavations was completed.
OTE TV tower
The TV tower was erected in 1966 and reconstructed in 2005. The building reaches a height of 76 meters. Inside, a panoramic restaurant is located on a rotating platform, which makes a full rotation around its axis in 40 minutes. The TV tower also has an observation deck from where you can admire Thessaloniki. The interior of the building is used for various official events.
A large market, which began work in 1922 thanks to a merchant of Jewish origin E. Modiano. Trading shops are located near Aristotle's Square, almost in the very center of Thessaloniki. The market sells local products, souvenirs, flowers and other goods. There are also uzeri taverns where creative people gather. Not far from the bazaar is the complex of Turkish baths Yahudi Hamam.
The water park is located 8 km from Thessaloniki. It was opened in 1994. At that time, its technical equipment was considered one of the best in southern Europe. Today "Waterland" looks a little dated, but this does not prevent tourists from visiting it. The water park has eight slides, several pools, bars, sports grounds, a play area for children and equipped picnic areas.