Thessaloniki is a city of cultural happenings.
The second largest city in Greece, it is named The Jewel of North for its charm and explosive energy. From the café-lined waterfront with the White Tower dominating the cityscape to the looming Byzantine walls in the Upper Town, Thessaloniki is ready for you to experience.
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Thessaloniki is a city of especial significance on the Balkan peninsula. The gateway to the eastern markets, it became a commercial, political, and cultural center of the Byzantine empire. This shaped Thessaloniki into magnet for invasions with the Romans, Normans, Slavs, Bulgarians, Franks and Turks and Venetians all coming to capture the city. The city’s inhabitants were naturally reluctant to the foreign presence, even though their influence is still present within the city. Ancient ruins serve as reflection of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine origins.
Throughout its history Thessaloniki was a point of turbulence suffering from an earthquake in 620 then in 1978 another quake left Thessaloniki again in ruins. The severe fire of 1917 burned the city to the ground. The 20th century once more placed Thessaloniki at the epicenter of global tensions when more then 50,000 Jewish residents were sent to Auschwitz and immediately gassed.
Today the 363,987-strong population is exclusively Greek in origin even though foreign commercial interest to the area is high. A major crossing for south-eastern Europe, it sustains itself through steel, oil and liquor exchanges. While the western part of the city is heavily industrialized, the east end of the city is home to business. With Touba and Kalamaria areas revitalized after the fire of 1917, the city retains its old town feel. Beautiful Genti-Koule Castle and nearby Acropolis decorate the cobbled streetscape, while old-fashioned taverns are scattered throughout.
Other attractions include;
- Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the best of this kind museum of Greece.
-Museum of Byzantine Culture presents the Byzantine history, art and culture
The Ahiropiitos, a Christian basilica built in 5BC
Ossios David or the Latomos Monastery houses a mosaic of Christ on a rainbow
Agia Sofia, an example of Byzantine architecture with the name refers to the church of Istanbul
Being full of churches and monasteries, the city outstrips major destinations by the quantity of architecture in the Upper town. More than 3000 years of history is concentrated within the city walls that makes it the oldest town in Europe. The King Kassander of Macedonia established the city in honor of his wife, the sister of Alexander the Great. The following centuries breathed life in Thessaloniki, so today it is a modern city with European face, but retaining the old days in its heart.
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