Spending a few days in Thessaloniki, Greece
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A visitor approaching Thessaloniki from the sea will have a first glimpse of a modern metropolis, lots of blocks of flats and other modern buildings.
This sight was very different a few hundred years ago. A major change in the façade of the city took place after the 1917 fire destroyed a great part of it leading to a new infrastructure plan to be developed, but something was still left for example the old neighborhood of Kastra and other major Roman ruins and ottoman buildings. They were renovated and the city of Thessaloniki was named a European cultural capital.
The city was founded in 316 BC by king Cassander who named the city after his wife. The city developed during Roman times. Christianity flourished in the settlement under the Byzantine rulers who built new churches. Despite the many attacks, earthquakes, fires or epidemics, the city continued to prosper.
After 1500 many Jews came from Spain to settle here making up almost half of the city’s population. After the war, the Nazi took most of them to concentration camps and at present, there are less than one thousand Jews left. Lots of other refugees made up the city’s population giving it a multicultural feel and making the local cuisine a very rich one in flavors.
- The International Fair that takes place every year in October makes the city an important commercial centre
- The Museum of Archeology boasts Macedonian, and Roman artifacts from the whole region. Verghina collection holds some magnificent treasures: jewels, household items made of gold, the king’s crown, and many other.
- Churches- here in the city more byzantine churches have survived the ottoman destruction than in other places. The earliest churches have been adapted from Roman basilicas, that were in turn built upon old Greek temples. You can visit Ahiropitos and Aghios Dhimitrios. The last one is the church that has been built short time after the death of Saint Dhimitrios on the place where he was kild. This is the biggest church in Greece, almost completely reconstructed after the 1917 fire.
- Osios Dhavid- is what is left of Latomos monastery and you can find it in the old Kastra neighborhood.
- Aghia Sofia – dating the 8th century was built to imitate the one with the same name in Constantinople
- Aghios Nikolaos Orfanos is the most beautiful church located in the northeastern part of Kastra
- The Byzantine Museum boasts an exquisite art collection, icons, ceramics, coins
- Modhiano covered market- bearing the name of the Jewish family who built it, sells fresh meat and fish
The surrounding area makes for a day trip and you can see the ruins of Dion and the beautiful Mount Olimp.
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1. Aug 27, 2008 Spending a few days in Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki)
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Recommended Thessaloniki Guide
There are numerous museums in Thessaloniki, most of them celebrating the past and the culture of the city. There are at least a dozen galleries in the city, with various things on display. Perhaps the most intriguing museum in Thessaloniki is the Folklore and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace, founded in the 1970’s and located in a magnificent Art Nouveau building known as the Old Government House. The museum houses an impressive collection of traditional objects such as weapons, household tools that have been used by the early inhabitants of the region. Art lovers will love the State Museum of Contemporary Art, a display... Read more »
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