Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is the name of a prefecture and the name of its capital in the Greek district of Macedonia. Thessaloniki is about five hundred fifty kilometers from the Greek capital Athens. This region is home to approximately one million people and it is after Athens's most heavily populated region.
Thessaloniki is a lively city with lots to see and to do. This city was founded in the year fifteen hundred BC by Kassandros, in honor of his wife, Thessalonica, who was the sister of Alexander the Great. The city was founded at a time when the Greeks got ready to conquer the Middle East. Since then, Thessaloniki has played a major role in both the Greek and the Eurasian history.
In Thessaloniki are many historical monuments. To explore the city well, you can start best with the White Tower which stands at the harbor. This tower was built in the 15th century on the same location where the Byzantines had already built a castleduring the 12th century. The building has had various functions, so it was a time a prison for serious offenders.
Near the White Tower you can also see the statue of Alexander the Great on horseback. From the White Tower is a long promenade along the water. When on this boulevard walking westward, you will first see a lot ouzeris, cafeterias and restaurants, and then the big Aristotelous square will come in sight. This is the square where many large terraces and in summer it is very crowded by the residents of Thessaloniki, and by thousands of tourists.
Slightly further westwards is the neighbourhood Ladadika located. This was formerly a trading place in olive oil, but also in other foods. Today, this neighbourhood has a different function, it is the neighbourhood with many traditional restaurants. The old buildings have been refurbished in the original old style, and now form the centre of the nightlife of Thessaloniki.
If you walk north from Ladadika, after a few minutes you will see the traditional covered market. It is a vibrant market where fish, meat, fruit and other foods are sold.
Thessaloniki houses many important sights from the days when the Romans occupied the city. Thus the Roman Emperor Galerius built the famous arch, you can see the ruins of it, which are on the Egnatia road. An historical building is also the Rotonda which is down, situated in the north. The Rotonda should serve as a mausoleum, later it became the Christian church of Agios Georgios.
In Thessaloniki are also many historical churches. The most famous churches are the church of Agios Dimitrios and the church of Agia Sofia. Next to the church of Agia Sofia in the underground are ruins of ancient Roman resorts. These resorts used the Christians around the third century, to be baptized. Since it was banned by the Romans, the Christians baptized in underground tunnels. These tunnels are allowed to visit, the entrance to the tunnel in the underground is in the church, next to the baths.
A very interesting area to visit is located on the slopes of the mountain, north of the city, this is also called the upper town. Here you see the walls of a large Byzantian fortress that formerly comprised ten towers. On both sides to the walls are interesting buildings with wooden balconies. From here you have a fantastic view over the city.