There is a homeland for everyone, while there is Thessaloniki.


The metropolis of Thessaloniki has a population of over a million and is the biggest city in the northern part of Greece. It is built by Thermaïkos and Strymonikos Gulf, on fertile grounds resting beside the Rivers of Axios, Gallikos and Loudias, as well as the lakes Koroneia and Volvi. Findings prove that Thessaloniki has been inhabited since prehistoric times, marked by multiculturalism, yet its present day modernised state is charmingly intertwined with archaeological sites, byzantine churches and other significant monuments from the past. Thessaloniki is a busy, bustling city at all times of the day but especially at night when it becomes brighter and colourful.

Touring the City

Walking around is a great way to explore any city, whether you are familiar with it or not, so why would Thessaloniki differ? Start walking, just for the sake of it, while enjoying the journey. Explore the city’s landmark, the White Tower, located on the seaside promenade. Within the tower runs a museum showcasing Thessaloniki’s history from its foundation up to 1922 as well as a charming collection concerning the city’s glorious Byzantine past. The fortified cylindrical structure (33.9m height and 22.7m diameter) was built in the 15th century during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent and was later used during the Ottoman rule as a place of execution, which was called Canli Casteli meaning “tower of blood”. The origin of its current name dates to the 19th c.

At a short distance from the Tower you can visit the Vassiliko Theatre, built in 1940, which is home to the National Theatre of Northern Greece NTNG. The three storey, recently renovated 11,000m2 building, accommodates numerous playhouses.

Stop by the Palace complex of Galerius and see the Octagon building intended to be a throne hall with its impressive mosaics, the Rotonda (containing Early Christian mosaics) and Galerius Arch (aka Kamara) built in ca. 305 A. D.

Visit the Ancient Agora (dating 3rd c. B.C. to the 5th c. A.D.) where you will see the ruins of the market, a mint, a conservatory, the (most probably) City Archives room, public bath facilities, taverna, brothel, as well as other finds. An ancient temple and early Christian tombs ( 4th-7th c.) were revealed after excavations under Γ’ Septemvriou St.

Get to know another aspect of the city’s history by stopping at the Byzantine Baths, near Koule Kafe square. It is a rare sample of Byzantine Baths dating back to the end of the 13th century.

Make a point of visiting the Ishak Pasha Tzami Mosque (1484), near Kassandrou St. and the Hamza Bey Tzami Mosque (aka Alkazar) (1467), located among Egnatia and Venizelou streets, which was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt in 1620. Stop by Bey Hamam (1444), on Egnatia Odos St., Pasha Hamam (1520), Pazar and Yeni Hamam.

Moreover, the city of Thessaloniki is a renowned shopping destination; the main shopping streets are Tsimiski, Ermou, Egnatia, Mitropoleos and the environs. Make sure to pass by the old fashioned food markets of Modiano and Kapani (built in 1922). Enjoy your day out among the shops housed in the market’s arcades or sit and relax in one of the charming cafes and traditional eateries (mezedopolio)!

Another fascinating market to explore is the 15th c. Bezesteni Textile Market (Venizelou and Solomou St.) where you’ll find a sheer variety of fabrics in all colors and designs.

Jaunt around Thessaloniki’s port where the customs and warehouse buildings (built in 1910) are home to the Photography and Cinema Museums but are also used as venues for the International Film Festival.

Last but not least, don’t miss the nearby Ladadika neighbourhood, the best place to soak up the vibrant nightlife scene in Thessaloniki near Aristotelous square. This is where you’ll enjoy the night out in restaurants and nightclubs in old restored buildings that were saved by the 1917 fires.

White Tower Thessaloniki

The White Tower

The White Tower is perhaps the most recognizable spot in Thessaloniki. Depicted on all types of souvenirs and favourite clothes, photographed from all angles, in all seasons and at each hour of the day, it has come to be imprinted on our collective unconscious, an archetypal image. With its distinctive cylindrical shape, its six storeys and its memory-charged history, it has become the city’s trademark. When one sets eyes on the White Tower, it means that one has made one of the most fascinating journeys and is in the city of a thousand promises, Thessaloniki.

The exact date of its construction is hidden in the mists of time. The initial suggestion that it was perhaps of Venetian construction, has not been accepted by archaeologists. Most likely it was built during the early Ottoman period, sometime after 1530. It is believed by some that the architect of this defensive fortress was Mimar Sinan, who also built a very similar tower in the port of Valona in Albania. What is certain though is that this impressive piece of architecture was built on top of a pre-existing Byzantine building.

A low, octagonal, surrounding wall and three additional towers, existing in the building’s initial form, were demolished in the early 20th century. It is thought that on this outer wall stood heavy artillery which guarded the port and the coastline. It was initially named the Lion Tower, indicating the glory of the Ottoman military machine. During the 17th century it was unofficially known as the Fortress of Kalamaria. After 1826 it took the name Kanli-Kule, or Tower of Blood. Its present name conceals a great human story. A Jewish prisoner in the tower, Nathan Guidili, took it upon himself to smarten it up by painting it white. For this he won his freedom and certainly posthumous fame.

The White Tower, apart from being a great architectural monument, is a reference point in Thessaloniki. Dominating the shore, it has become a meeting point and a good place for a walk.

Thessaloniki Shopping

Shopping in Thessaloniki

Whatever shopping habits you may have, Thessaloniki will fulfil your wishes! When you visit Thessaloniki you will definitely enjoy shopping during your stay. The city offers a wide range of choices that will satisfy every shopper. Are you looking for luxury shopping? Are you the type who wants to find everything in a department store? Looking for little vintage treasures that exude an atmosphere of a bygone era? Do you love strolling and shopping in traditional markets?

The main shopping streets are Tsimiski, Mitropoleos and those around them. An enjoyable walk on beautiful Aristotelous square, where shops blend in with cafés and ouzo tavernas, is also a great place to start from. In any case the best shopping places in town are there waiting to be discovered.

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