“And may she be named Thessaloniki”, said King Philip of his
first daughter. Later, Kassandros, Alexander the Great’s general
who succeeded him on the throne, married the young princess and
gave her name to the city he founded (316-317 B.C.).
From here, St. Paul, the Apostle of the Nations, spread the Word
of Christianity (50 A.D.).
And the Roman emperor, Galerius, made the city his headquarters
Here, too, Demetrios, a Roman officer, was martyred, thus
becoming Thessaloniki’s patron saint (303 A.D.). The wealth and
glory of Byzantium followed.
Along with a succession of enemies (Slavs, Avars, Saracens,
Normans, Catalans and Turks), but each time, after each
invasion, Thessaloniki survived, clad in the Byzantine and
ancient garb for which she was predestined.
Her beauty was trumpeted far and wide.
The magnificence of her landmarks:
The Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda with its mosaics.
Aghia Sofia, the Ahiropiitos, Ossios David, Aghioi Apostoli, the
Vlatadon Monastery, Aghios Dimitrios, Profitis Ilias, Aghios
Nikolaos – churches representing every phase of Byzantine
architecture and painting – as well as Byzantine walls, castles
The White Tower, built on the site of an older tower, and
the other tower, its twin, the Trigonio.
The Archaeological Museum is a true surprise, the wealth
and splendour of its contents fixes us like a magnet, while the
Folk Art Museum entrances us with its lovely crafts from the
18th and 19th century.
Not far from the museum is a contemporary landmark, the
International Fair Grounds, a crossroads where people meet in
friendship and cooperation, while above it looms the University
named after Aristotle.
All Thessaloniki pulsates with life.
The streets are bustling with activity. The streets are aflow
with cars. Spacious avenues, parks, squares, trees.
Streets lined with shops and alluring show-windows. Old,
neoclassical houses next to modern apartment blocks.
And plenty of tavernas, ouzeris, restaurants, hotels,
nightclubs, bars, “bouzoukia” (Thessaloki was where rebetika,
the Greek “blues”, was born), cinemas, theaters, cafes whose
chairs and tables fill the pavements and the piazzas.
Little dives and cellars specializing in Macedonian treats.
Places to “hang out” and have an icecream cone or a “submarine”
(a spoonful of something sweet dipped in a glass of ice water).
And places where you can just be quiet.
Another world after the brouhaha of the city.
The Upper Town with its poetry and charm.
Old neighbourhoods with narrow alleyways and gardens. Courtyards
draped with laundry. Wide-open doors and carefree children
Rebetika melodies and the scent of exotic flowers waft through
With your every step you glimpse the heart of Thessaloniki. An
immortal heart, a perpetual beat.
An inseparable companion in joy and in sorrow.