There are two city centers in Thessaloniki – the old and the new. And despite the fact that they are located not far from each other, the difference is simply amazing, and there are sights in each of them. According to populationmonster, Thessaloniki is one of the largest cities in Greece.
The Old Town is an ancient, northern part, a small area that miraculously escaped death in a terrible fire in 1917, when the rest of the resort burned out. Nearby was the ancient residence of the monarchs, of which today only the impressive triumphal arch of Galeria remains.
Those who are interested in archaeological sites will appreciate the ancient city of Dion, dedicated to Zeus, Heptapyrgion, a Byzantine and Ottoman fortress, and the Archaeological Museum, which many tourists consider the most interesting not only in the city, but in the whole country.
Most travelers begin their acquaintance with the resort from the White Tower. This is part of the defensive wall erected by the Turks, where prisoners were kept. The White Tower began to be called after it was covered with whitewash. Now there is a museum inside, and at the top there is a cafe from where you can admire the city. The monument stands next to the embankment – wide, long and laid along the line where the walls of the city passed in ancient times. From the tower you can see the top of the famous Olympus – the mountain on which the ancient Greek gods lived.
Almost all the religious buildings of the resort during their history managed to stay both Orthodox churches and Muslim mosques, and then again “converted to Christianity.” True, some of them were built in the pre-Christian era. Of particular interest are the church of St. George, built in the 4th century, the church of St. Sophia, which is more than a thousand years old, once it was the main temple of the city, the church of St. Nicholas of Orphan with amazing frescoes, the basilica of St. Dmitry, built by one of the first in the city and badly damaged by time, and the former temple of Zeus is the Church of Rotunda, which is only slightly younger than the Parthenon.
3 things to do in Thessaloniki
- Meet the sunset at a table in a cafe on the White Tower.
- Visit the International Film Festival.
- See with your own eyes Olympus and the ancient city of Zeus.
Thessaloniki for children
Since you can’t swim in Thessaloniki itself, the resort is considered not the best place for families with children. But because of the abundance of entertainment for kids, families willingly come here, staying in nearby villages and towns. First of all, the Waterland water park deserves attention – one of the largest European water amusement parks. You can get to it from Aristotle’s Square by a special bus. Another favorite place for children is Magic Park amusement park. It is located on the outskirts of the city, near the Ikea store.
Those who love nature will be interested in the zoo “Zoologikos Kipos Thessalonikis” and the Museum of Natural History, and in the neighboring village of Lengochori, children are given lessons in horse riding, archery, basketball and football.
One of the most important local celebrations is the Dmitry Festival, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, St. Dmitry of Thessalonica. Today, the event has been celebrated since 1966, but there is historical evidence that it was founded during the time of the Byzantine Empire.
In November, the International Gastronomic Festival takes place in the northern capital of Greece, which brings together the best chefs from all regions of the country to show their skills. In mid-December, the Afro-Cuban dance festival Salsa Cubana is held here, and in February, the Road of the Bells festival, which represents the culture of different regions of the country during the carnival procession.
In addition, Thessaloniki hosts the International Film Festival in November, the winners of which receive the Golden Alexander Award, and a documentary film competition (in March).
The climate in Thessaloniki is Mediterranean, the sun often shines. The season suitable for travel lasts the entire warm half of the year (from approximately April 15 to October 20), and the water in the resort suburbs is suitable for swimming from the beginning of June. Sometimes snow falls in winter, but it melts in just a couple of hours, in general, the cold period is rainy, but not frosty. The last two months of the year are considered the wettest, but from the middle of summer it can be very dry and hot.