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
Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, after the capital, Athens, and it is the largest and most populous city in the Greek region of Macedonia. The most fascinating thing about Thessaloniki is that the city has been standing in the same spot for over 2000 years. Throughout the millennia, Thessaloniki has played a major role not only in Greek history, but also in the history of all the nations it has belonged to. The city is a gold mine of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and of course, Ancient Greek relics. This Thessaloniki History Guide will give an outline of the city’s rich history.... Read more »
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