Many Stories.

In the heart of Central Macedonia, flanked by Mt. Olympus (the mountain of the ancient gods) and the wonderful beaches of Halkidiki, Thessaloniki is living through the 24th century of its history. Αs colourful as the cultures that shaped it into what it is: a city of flavours and music of all sorts, a human and hospitable harbour. It is a city visitors can discover by walking through it – from the Film Festival screenings at the old Port premises, to its Byzantine walls and the old town churches all the way down to the statue of Alexander the Great by the sea.

A melting pot of cultures and civilisations.

Thessaloniki was founded in 315 b.C. by Cassander and since then it has been a meeting point of civilizations, still echoing around the city, along the streets, among the buildings, in the surviving human customs. The Triumph Arch, known as Kamara – Galerius’ Palace on Navarino Square and the imposing Rotunda reflect Roman times. The defensive city walls, St. Demetrius church and various other Byzantine and early Christian churches still holding mass through the centuries – twelve UNESCO monuments within a walking distance of half an hour (!) reveal the significance of the city for the Byzantine Empire.The narrow lanes of the quaint Upper City, Kemal Ataturk’s house, Yeni Cami, Alatza Imaret are some of the traces left from the Ottoman period. At the Synagogue and the Jewish Museum, Allatini’s Villa, Caza Bianca and Modiano Mansion visitors can be informed through a lot of visual material about the history of the Jews of Thessaloniki.Today, at the city with the largest University Campus in Greece and the largest Exhibition Centre in the Balkans, the history of exchanging ideas continues uninterrupted: Thessaloniki is full of youthful energy and keeps on filling its historical mosaic.

A tour of the Museums.

Climb the steps of the White Tower, on the sea front, and through videos, photographs and interactive games you can learn about the history of Thessaloniki over the centuries. At the Archaeological Museum you can view the gold artefacts of ancient Macedon and rare finds from the Archaic and Roman periods.At the wonderful museum of Byzantine Civilisation you can wonder at the murals, mosaics, icons and ecclesiastic utensils and everyday use objects reflecting Byzantine culture and art, while at Mount Athos Centre you can find publications, studies and exhibitions highlighting the historical bonds of the monastic community of Mt. Athos with the city of Thessaloniki.The State Museum of Modern Contemporary Art, at Lazaristes Monastery, houses the unique Kostakis’ collection of works by Russian avant-garde artists and organises exhibitions of works of art by contemporary artists. To extend your acquaintance with modern art and the Visual Arts, in general, visit Tellogleion Art Foundation. Furthermore, on the cultural pier of the city port, you will find the Cinema Museum and the excellent Photography Museum of Thessaloniki.

A day in the city of young artists.

The city is well-known for hosting the International Film and Documentary Festivals, the Biennale of Photography and Modern Art, and the Gastronomy Festival. Music, drama, dance come alive on stage at the Concert Hall, the State Theatre of Northern Greece and the tens of young artistic group meeting places scattered around town. Don’t forget to taste the sweet or savoury filling of the hand-made bougatsa pastries with your morning coffee, during your walk along Tsimiski, the central commercial street, or the covered markets of Modiano and Kapani.Find information about restaurants, taverns and grill houses and enjoy the rich Mediterranean, Eastern and international flavours. Ask passers-by at Aristotelous square, when cycling in the early evening along the seafront, or at the clubs on Valaoritou Street and the Ladadika (Old Oil Market) District. They will soon show you how easily Thessaloniki offers unforgettable experiences one should not miss out on!

Trips around the city.

Thessaloniki is in the heart of a wonderful territory, close to all interesting things one can do or see in Central Macedonia any season of the year. In the winter you can choose the skiing centres around Veroia or Edessa. You can go mountaineering or cross the divine Mt. Olympus, Mt. Beles, the Kroussia range, or Mt. Paikon. In the summer the climb to Mt. Olympus can be combined with a swim on the nearby beaches, unless you prefer to succumb to the lure of the splendid beaches and cosmopolitan events in Halkidiki.
In the autumn it is worth attending the International Puppet Festival in Kilkis or the International Film Festival in Naoussa, with a glass of ‘xinomavro’ [sour-black], the famous local wine. If you want to tour
the 25 famous wineries of Macedon, spring is the right time, when Nature is at its best in the lakes and the forests: the rivers present a rafting challenge and the weather is excellent from anything.There is no end to the choices open to visitors: from the racetrack at Serres for lovers of fast driving to the archaeological site at Amphipolis. From the caves at Petralona and Alistrati to the warm springs at Angistron, Nigrita, Loutraki or Skydra for those fascinated by the forces of Nature. From worship sites on Mt. Athos, Paeonia, or Pieria, for those believing in the miracle of Creation, to Dion, the Royal Tombs at Vergina, Aristotle’s School and the Palaces at Pella, for those who wish to explore the brilliant history of Alexander, the Great campaigner and visionary. Who can resist such wonders?

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