Welcome to Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece. It represents a tourist attraction for millions of Greek and foreign visitors who include it in their travel agenda or have fallen in love with the city and return again and again.
It is located in the north of the country and is the capital of both the Thessaloniki prefecture and Central Macedonia. Thessaloniki's rich cultural and historical heritage takes its visitors on a wonderful journey back in time.
The city was founded in 315 BC (Hellenistic period) by King Cassander of Macedonia who gave it his wife's and Alexander the Great step-sister's name, Thessaloniki. From the 2nd century BC, when it was conquered by the Romans, Thessaloniki played an important role in history and emerged as one of the Roman Empire's major cities. Its strategic location contributed greatly to Emperor Galerius' decision to declare it an imperial capital during his reign. At that time the Rotunda, the Hippodrome, the arches and his palace were built. A little later, Constantine the Great wanted to make Thessaloniki the capital of the Roman Empire. Although the plan did not come to fruition, the Byzantine era found Thessaloniki serving as the co-capital of the Empire. In 1432 it was conquered by the Ottomans and remained under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. Over the years, it emerged as a major Jewish metropolis (due to the migration of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and northern Europe) and from the mid 19th century evolved as the most cosmopolitan city in the Ottoman Empire.
1912 was a landmark year for the city as it became part of the Greek State, with migration strengthening its Greek element. It is worth noting that during the period 1922-1924, under the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange agreed upon by the Treaty of Lausanne, refugees from Asia Minor and Pontos (the Black Sea) settled in Thessaloniki. Their large influx created refugee districts such as Kalamaria, while the Muslims of the city were deemed as "exchangeables" and were forced to move to Turkey.
The City Today
Today, Thessaloniki is a dynamic city full of energy that honors and respects its history. Some parts of the city truly resemble outdoor museums, surrounded by Byzantine walls, countless Byzantine churches and monuments of times long gone. However, it also boasts pedestrian streets with top fashion houses, boutiques, and exquisite local cuisine which tempts connoisseurs and those looking for famous nightlife! The walk along the waterfront, the elegant cafes in the city center and Aristotelous Square which have inspired songwriters and poets (like the city itself), as well as its hospitable residents, well-groomed women and much more comprise a long list of attractions which proves that this city has "something" that will make you love it and yearn its warm embrace.
Let it surprise you!