Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and is also known in Greece as “the co-capital”, a reference to its historical status as the “co-reigning” city of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, alongside Constantinople. The city is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general. The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon and was named after his wife Thessalonike, daughter of Philip and sister of Alexander the Great. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, and remained an important seaport and multi-ethnic metropolis during the nearly five centuries of Turkish rule. It passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912.
The White Tower of Thessaloniki is a monument and museum on the waterfront of the city of Thessaloniki. The present tower replaced an old Byzantine fortification, known to have been mentioned around the 12th century, that the Ottoman Empire reconstructed to fortify the city’s harbor sometime after Sultan Murad II captured Thessaloniki in 1430. The tower became a notorious prison and scene of mass executions during the period of Ottoman rule. The White Tower was substantially remodeled and its exterior was whitewashed after Greece gained control of the city in 1912. It has been adopted as the symbol of the city.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is a museum that holds and interprets artifacts from the Prehistoric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly from the city of Thessaloniki but also from the region of Macedonia in general.
The Arch of Triumphant Galerius (known today as “Kamara”), was probably built by the city of Thessaloniki between 298 and 305 A.D. to commemorate Galerius’ victorious campaign against the Persians.
The Roman Market of Thessaloniki is located at the center of the city. This spot was the center of activities of Thessaloniki for about 8 centuries, almost from the foundation of the town (3rd century B.C.) till the early Byzantine period (5th century A.D.).
Aristotelous Square is the main city square and is located on the city’s waterfront. Today, Aristotelous Square is one of the most famous places in all of Greece and almost synonymous with the city of Thessaloniki itself. The square plays an important role in the sociopolitical life not only of the city, but of the wider country as well.
Ladadika is the name of a historic district and a landmark area of the city. It’s located near the Port of Thessaloniki and for centuries the area was one of the most important market places of the city. Its name came about from the many olive oil shops of the area.
The Church of Saint Demetrius is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, dating from a time when it was the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
Vlatadon Monastery is a monastery in Ano Poli. Built in the 14th century during the late era of the Byzantine Empire, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the 15 in the city.
Beach Promenade is the most famous and popular spot of Thessaloniki. It goes along Nikis square and pass through the White Tower, the trademark of the town, and numerous cafeterias and bars that stay open all night. This is a frequent nightlife spot for locals and visitors. Walking along this paved promenade is relaxing. You can also take a horse carriage to go for a ride around the town.
Nature has always been an unpredictable designer. This is more than obvious entering Petralona Cave, formed around a million years ago. The locals call it “the red-rock cave” due to the color that the bauxite deposits give to the stone. Petralona Cave is one of Europe’s most impressive and important caves thanks to its wealth of fossils (one of the richest collections in Europe) and to the discovery of a human skull that dates back approximately 700.000 years and it is located near the village of Petralona.
Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, part of Veroia municipality in Imathia, Central Macedonia. It is best known as the site of ancient Aigai (Aegae), the first capital of Macedon. In 336 BC Philip II was assassinated in Aigai’s theatre and his son, Alexander the Great, was proclaimed king. The most important recent finds were made in 1977 when the burial sites of several kings of Macedon were found, including the tomb of King Philip II which had not been disturbed or looted, unlike so many of the other tombs. It is also the site of an extensive Royal Palace.
The archaeological museum of Vergina was built to house all the artifacts found at the site and is one of the most important museums in Greece. Aigai has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. In the heart of the Jewish District (dating to 50 AD), with the paved lanes and the impressive mansions, there is the stone-built Synagogue, the most ancient synagogue in Northern Greece with elaborate interior decoration; impressive wood carved ceilings and vivid mosaic tiles. Saint Paul is also known as the “Apostle of the Nations” because of his missionary journeys throughout the eastern Mediterranean for the dissemination of Christianity.
The Bema of Saint Paul is the place where he stood to preach Christianity and was transformed into a Christian church during the Byzantine period.
The ancient theatre located in Mieza, is the city where Alexander the Great and his fellow students attended the lessons of philosopher Aristotle.
In the Archaeological Museum of Veroia one can see findings from the Late Stone Age till the Hellenistic Period. The majority of the exhibits come from the period of the acme of the Macedonian Kingdom.
Ancient Neapolis (Christoupolis) was a Greek city, located in Edonis, a region of ancient Thrace and later of Macedon. The site is located near modern Kavala.
Kavala is a city in northern Greece, the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia. The most recognizable monument of Kavala is its large arched aqueduct, known as “Kamares”. The aqueduct was built at the beginning of the 16th century, during the Turkish occupation, and is probably built on the remains of a Roman and a Byzantine aqueduct. The arches are made of local granite and they reach a length of 270 meters and an amazing height of 25 meters, being the largest and most beautiful aqueduct of their time, which combines many types of arches, such as pointed, semicircular.
The Acropolis of Kavala, built around the first quarter of 15th century, stands at the top of Panagia peninsula where the old town is situated. It was built on the remains of the Byzantine Acropolis of Christoupolis (former name of Kavala) which was destroyed in 1391, incorporating parts that survived from it. The various fortification interventions are quite obvious and were carried out by Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans.