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And may she be named Thessaloniki", said King Philip of his first daughter. Later, Kassandros, Alexander the Great's general, who succeeded him on the throne, married the young princess and gave her name to the city he founded (316-315 BC). From here, St. Paul, the Apostle of the Nations, spread the Word of Christianity (AD 50). And the Roman emperor, Galerius, made the city his headquarters (AD 300). Here, too, Demetrios, a Roman officer, was martyred, thus becoming Thessaloniki’s patron saint (303). The wealth and glory of Byzantium followed. Along with a succession of enemies (Slavs, Avars, Saracens, Normans, Catalans and Turks), but each time, after each invasion, Thessaloniki survived, clad in the Byzantine and ancient garb for which she was predestined. Her beauty was trumpeted far and wide.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

  • THE PALACE OF GALERIUS (300 A.D.) at Navarino Square was built on a massive scale using primarily local materials, perhaps over the destruction layer of a fire that cleared an area for the complex. Expansive areas of mosaic are preserved in several areas. A structure linked to the palace and called the Octagonal Room is at the southwest end of the excavated area; this was thought at one point to be a mausoleum, but may have actually been a monumental entryway to the palace. Beside the palace to the northeast was a Hippodrome.
  • ROMAN MARKET AND THEATRE: Ruins standing at the Law Court Square (Dikastiria).
  • ROMAN BATHS: North of the church of Agios Dimitrios.
  • THE NYMPHAION: An elegant monopteral, circular building.
  • VERGINA: the ancient site of Aigai and the first capital of Macedonia has extensive ruins including the tomb of Phillip and the summer palace of King Antigonas Gonata.

MONUMENTS AND CHURCHES

  • GALERIUS ARCH (Kamara): erected shortly before AD 305 in commemoration of Garius's victory over the Persians in AD 297. It stands at the junction of Egnatia and D. Gounari Streets.
  • THE ROTUNDA: A circular building erected in AD 306 as the Pantheon or Mausoleum of Galerius. Under Theodosius The Great it became a Christian church [Saint George] with only a few additions or alterations. Its mosaics are unique for the era (4th century). It is located on D. Gounari street.
  • THE AHIROPIITOS: A large, early Christian church built in the 5th century with mosaics of outstanding beauty and harmony of color. Ii is located in Agia Sophia Street.
  • CHURCH OF OSIOUS DAVID (or, THE LATOMOS MONASTERY): early Christian church constructed in the late 5th century. Its splendid mosaics portraying "The Glory of The Lord" or "The Visin of Ezekiel" are reowned. It is located in the Upper Town.
  • THE CITY WALLS: were erected during the time of Theodossios the Great to guard the city from Democracy Square of nowadays across Eptapyrgio up to the site later occupied by the White Tower, a work of the architect Sinan (first half of 16th century).
  • THE WHITE TOWER: This large tower and its counter parts, at the southeast corner of the citadel were probably erected in the 15th century.
  • SAINT DEMETRIOS: restored in 1948 after having been destroyed by the great fire of 1918, in conformation with its original plan as a five aisled basilica. The church was built on top of the old Roman baths and is decorated with mosaics.
  • THE CRYPT: the easternmost section of baths, where St. Demetrios was incarcerated, tortured and buried.
  • AGIA SOPHIA: an 8th c. building representing the transition from the domed basilica towards the domed crusiform church [a copy of the original Agia Sophia in Constantinople].
  • PANAGIA OF HALKEON: a cruciform church built in 1028. The church contains lovely ceramic ornamentation and 65 stunning wall paintings.
  • AGIA EKATERINI (13th c.) is very well preserved externally, with traces of frescoes inside.
  • AGII APOSTOLI (14th c.) is a crusiform church with richly decorated facade, mosaics and frescoes from the Palaeologal Era.
  • VLATADON MONASTERY: (14th c.) celebrated for its Ecumenical Foundation for Patristic Studies, the only one in the world. Its church is crusiform in plan with a dome. It is located in the Upper Town.
  • AGIOS NIKOLAOS ORFANOS (14th c.): richly decorated with superb frescoes. In the 17th c. it became the chapel of Vlatadon Monastery. It is located in 20 Irodotou Street.
  • PROFITIS ILIAS: was built in 1360 upon the ruins of a Byzantine palace by the monk Makarios Houmnos.

MUSEUMS

  • ARCHAEOLOGY MUSEUM: Displaying sculpture of the archaic, classical and Roman periods. It is located near the White Tower and fairgrounds.
  • JEWISH MUSEUM: The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki was founded to honor the rich and creative Sephardic heritage as it evolved in the city after the 15th century consequent to the horrible expulsion from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. The Museum is housed in one of the rare Jewish structures that survived the fire of 1917. Located in the very heart of Thessaloniki, this imposing building has at times housed the Bank of Athens and the offices of the Jewish newspaper "L' Independent" and is a silent witness to the great Jewish presence that once filled the streets of Thessaloniki.
  • NEW MUSEUM OF BYZANTINE CULTURE: 2 Stratou Street.
  • ETHNOLOGICAL AND POPULAR ART l: It displays costumes and objects of the last 250 years of Greek national life and culture. One of the best museums in Greece. 68, Vas. Olgas, Street.
  • MUSEUM OF THE MACEDONIAN STRUGGLE: with exhibits from the years of local national resistance (1878-1912). 23, Proxenou Koromila Street.
  • WHITE TOWER MUSEUM: An exhibition of the history and art of Byzantine Thessaloniki covering the period between 300 and 1430. There is a small cafe with a great view at the top.
  • GALLERY OF FINE ARTS: It is located inside the building of the National Theatre. It is displaying Important works of Greek and foreign painters. 1, Nic. Germanou Street.
  • MUNICIPAL GALLERY: 162, Vas. Olgas, Street.
  • MUSEUM OF THE CRYPT: Inside the church of Agios Dimitrios.
  • MUSEUM OF THE SOCIETY FOR MACEDONIAN STUDIES: 1, Nic. Germanou, Street.
  • MACEDONIAN CENTRE OF MODERN ART: International Trade Fair Grounds.
  • TECHNICAL MUSEUM OF THESSALONIKI: Thessaloniki Industrial Area, 2nd Street, Building no 47
  • MUSEUM OF ATTATURK: The founder of modern Turkey was actually born in Thessaloniki and his house has been turned into a historical museum. Don't be put off if the guard asks for your passport. No, it's not a small island of Turkish territory in the midst of Greece's second largest city, but with ocassional tensions between the two countries they don't want to take any chances of someone defacing the displays. The last time somebody blew up this house in the fifities it set off anti-Greek riots in Istanbul and the expulsion of several thousand remaining Greeks.

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The Roman odeum in the Ancient Agora

 

 

Galerius Arch

 

 

Jewish Museum

 

 

The Metropolitan Church of Thessaloniki

 

 

St. Demetrius