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Short City Guide

Everything You Need to Know for Thessaloniki
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22/04/2020
Thessaloniki is a unique city! It is a place that bears elements from its west and east culture past, diverse communities of different religions and a blossoming economy. You can easily walk around from the part of the old town till the pedestrian seafront of the city and discover monuments, byzantine churches and modern art, a mixture of facts and common stories that folks used to recount. The city is very alive and welcoming, rich in typical local restaurants and markets where have preserved the atmosphere of the old town.

Monuments and museums

Anyone who visits Thessaloniki with a love of history, archaeology or world religions will be astounded by the many monuments to discover.
Here is a quick look at some of the top tourist attractions in the city:

Heptapyrgion

Though commonly called the fortress of the seven towers, the Heptapyrgion is also known by its Ottoman name Yedi Kule. Today, the Heptapyrgion is a popular tourist attraction, partly because of the great views over the city and its harbor.

Museum of Byzantine Culture

This large, extensive museum covers thousands of artifacts from Prechristian and Byzantine times. These include frescoes, mosaics and wall paintings, rescued arches from historic buildings, ceramics and textiles. The museum offers both guided and unguided tours for adults, as well as educational programs geared toward school children.

Hagia Sophia

This church of holy wisdom is one of the oldest continually standing buildings of Thessaloniki. It was built in the 8th century in the footprints of the church that was built in the 3rd century in Constantinople. Included as a World Heritage Site on the Unesco list.

Aristotelous Square

This main city square was designed in 1918 by French Architect Ernest Hebrard, though much of today’s square was recreated in the fifties. The square came to fruition just after a fire in 1917, and marked a major shift in the archaeological evolution of the city. Today, the square is home to many celebrations and public gatherings.

Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

This museum holds artifacts from four of the most archaeologically important historic periods of Thessaloniki and the surrounding sections of Macedonia. Pieces here represent the Hellenistic, Archaic, Classical and Roman periods. The building itself, ironically, is built in the Modern Greek architectural style. 

Other museums worth visiting are the Jewish Museum, the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle, the Folklore Museum, the Film Museum, the War Museum and Kemal Attaturk’ s house all taking visitors on a thrilling quest to the secrets of the past. 

Nea Paralia

This large pedestrian waterfront in the eastern urban district represents one of the best public projects in Greece in the past twenty years. Small in depth but very long, the promenade runs for about 3,5 km (2,2 miles) from the White Tower to Megaro Mousikis and offers a great space in between the sea and the city. It has become one of the most popular locations for a stroll in all of Thessaloniki. The promenade also offers bike and boat rentals along its flanks, as well as a number of delicious restaurants and lively bars. 

Arch of Galerius

The Arch of Galerius (or Kamara) is probably the most distinctive Roman structure of Thessaloniki. The arch was commissioned as a triumphal monument by emperor Galerius in order to celebrate the victorious campaign against the Sassanid Persians in 298 A.D. and the capture of their capital Ctesiphon. Today only two of the main pillars and one secondary pillar are still standing. 

Rotunda of Galerius

The oldest monument in Thessaloniki, the Rotunda is a massive round building that was first a Roman temple, then a Christian church, then a mosque. Its walls are more than 6 meters (20 feet) thick, which is one reason why it has withstood Thessaloniki’s earthquakes.

Agios Dimitrios Church.

This large and impressive church was built on the site of an ancient Roman bath where legends say that its namesake, dedicated to St Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki who was held prisoner and executed by Roman soldiers. It is considered to be one of the most historically and religiously important houses of worship in all of Greece.

White Tower

This circular, whitewashed waterfront tower is the most commonly known monument and the symbol of the city. Today the interior of the white tower serves as an extensive museum showing daily life in different eras of Thessaloniki. Additionally, the view from the top is breathtaking!

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