Thessaloniki or Salonica is the second-largest city of Greece and is the principal, the largest city, and the capital of the province of Macedonia. The city possesses a unique character due to its distinctive history, a mosaic of peoples, cultures, architecture and life style. Compared to Athens the city of Thessaloniki has a different feel: more Balkan-European and modern, more diverse and mysterious with a relaxed yet lively atmosphere. With a unique multi-cultural background Thessaloniki is the place where 3 religions met, where Greeks, Jews and Ottoman Turks lived in harmony for many centuries.
With an intense and wild nightlife the city is famous for its avant-garde live music and entertainment scene and for its great cultural events such as theh Film Festival of Thessaloniki. Small family run taverns and basement pastry shops offer a delicious variety of famous specialties, offering the very best of Greek cuisine, a blend of Byzantine, middle-eastern, Greek traditional and modern influences. The city boasts a wide ethnic mix and and wealth generated by its two major universities, the Aristotle University and the University of Macedonia, its sizable student population, its port with its special Free Zone, which provides facilities to the other Balkan countries, its international airport, its important industrial complex, its annual International Trade Fair to name but a few. The metropolitan area has a total population of around 1 million and lies in a bay of the Thermaic Gulf at the head of the Chalkidiki peninsula boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, spectacular natural scenery, mild climate all year round and emerald seas.
The symbol of Thessaloniki and the point of reference for the locals and the visitors. It stands next to the sea front of the town reminding the old times. In the 19th century it was a prison. Nowadays it's a museum of art and history.
Two of the characteristic monuments in town. Galerius arch is situated near the eastern walls of the city, a short distance from the Kassandreotiki gate.
Rotonda is a cylindrical building of early 4th century A.D., unique in Greece. It used to be a Pantheon or a Mausoleum for emperor Galerius. Now it's the Saint George church. The entrance is free. The mosaics inside are really impressive.
The area from Koudouriotou to Diamanti streets and from Hiou to Lemnou streets is known as Ladadika. Here you can find many bars, restaurants and the Museum of ancient Greek and Byzantine instruments.
The most impressive square in Thessaloniki. Buildings with great architecture inspired by European and colonial models, cafes, shops etc. A meeting place during the day. The square where the big celebrations take place, such us the coming of the new year.
The church of the patron saint of the town is a must see in Thessaloniki. The first church of Saint Dimitrios was built in 313 A.D. It was completely rebuilt in 1948 according the original plans since it has been destroyed twice before by fire.