It is called “The Bride of Thermaikos”, the “Loveable City”, or “The City to Eat the Best Brioche or Bougatsa in Greece”. But Thessaloniki is much more. People here know each other and really know how to have fun in this geographically well placed city of Greece!
Thessaloniki is the second largest city of Greece. It’s like a huge open museum where Greek, Roman and Byzantine antiquities can be found in every step of the city’s historic center. What would you do if you only had 48 hours to spend? Here is a list of suggestions.
1. Visit the White Tower, the symbol of the city. The White Tower was built in the late 15th century. The Tower has had many names: “Lion’s Tower” in the 16th century, “the Fortress of Kalamaria” in the 18th century, “the Janissary Tower” and the “Blood Tower” in the 19th century, since it served as a prison and as a place of execution for long-termed convicts. From 1985 onwards, it has operated as an exhibition venue.
2. Seize your time to the Galerius Palace Complex, in Navarino square. See the ruins of the palace consisting of huge buildings, the palace, the octagon, the Rotonda, a large Hippodrome, the Arch of Galerius, built by Emperor Galerius in the 4th century.
3. Go to the Ancient Agora. See the arched remains of the cryptoporticus as well as the large Odeum, the theater where Romans enjoyed watching musical shows and fights to the death between gladiators. Nowadays, during the summer, is still used for concerts.
4. Visit the museums. Visit them all! Go to:
- The Archaeological Museum
- The Museum of Byzantine Culture
- The Atatürk’s Museum, the place where Kemal Ataturk, the “father of Turks”, was born
- The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
- The Jewish Museum
- The Museum of ancient Greek, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine instruments
- The Thessaloniki History Center
- The War Museum
- The Design Museum
Wow! So many museums for every taste, aren’t they?
5. Wander in the alleys of Ano Poli (Upper Town) with the Byzantine walls and churches. Enjoy the tranquility of the place, the colorful houses and of course the panoramic view to the town of Thessaloniki.
6. Visit the Vlatadon Monastery. It is the only surviving monastery from the Byzantine time.
7. Visit the Eptapyrgio (greek) or Yedi Kule (turkish). It was the city’s prison from the end of the 18th century until 1988.
8. Go to the 5th-century Church of Agios Dimitrios, the patron Saint of Thessaloniki. One of the most interesting parts of the temple, is the underground ancient crypt, the place where Agios Dimitrios has martyred. The crypt was re-discovered after the fire of 1917 and was finally restored as an exhibition/museum in 1988.
9. Stroll down to Aristotelous square. It is the city’s most central square. Enjoy the breeze from the Thermaikos gulf by walking down all the promenade up to the Statue of Alexander the Great.
10. Visit these religious sites. Wander inside Saint Sofia, Panagia Halkeon, Panagia Acheiropoiitos, Saint Ioannis Prodromos, Taxiarhes.
11. Get some memories back. Enjoy shopping time to the central streets such as Mitropóleos, Tsimiski, Ermoú and Egnatia.
12. Satisfy your sweet tooth! Taste crepes, Thessaloniki cream-filled bougatsas, Trigona Panoramatos as well as the famous Thessaloniki’s sesame bread rings.
13. Have a great meal! Enjoy your lunch or dinner at Ladadika area. The entire area is for pedestrians only, hosting traditional taverns, bars and cafes. Extreme joy may blast at any time of the day in Ladadika.
14. Blend of civilizations. See the Turkish monuments and mosque and baths, part of Thessaliniki cultural history.
You will definitely fall in love with the city of Thessaloniki. Perhaps 48 hours seem too little now? Take more time and relax. Then come back and write about your feelings for this city.
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