As Thessaloniki has been at the crossroads of Greek history for 2,500 years then by all means walk the city. It’s not a small city but easy for anyone who enjoys a good low-impact hike. When that stroll includes stops at world-class historic sites, vibrant centuries old markets and unique cafes, the discoveries that are in store can be amazing.
What to visit:
Roman archeological sites: the 4th century triumphal arch of the Emperor Galarius still has a direct road connecting his palace to the Rotunda. For over 2,000 years the Rotunda served as a Greek/Roman temple, Christian church, mosque and now an Orthodox Church treasure.
The Archaeology Museum of Thessaloniki houses a wealth of culture that both Macedonia and the city fostered from pre-historic times to the golden age of Alexander.
Towering above downtown Thessaloniki up the foothills of Mount Chortiatis where the ancient acropolis was located, the massive fortress of the Heptapyrgion guarded the city for nearly two millenniums. Started by the Romans in the late 4th century it was substantially expanded by the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century and Ottomans in the 15th.
Down the hill the Monastery of Vlatadon in Ano Poli was built on a site already sacred where St. Paul preached to the Thessalonians in the year 51.
Until its near destruction in the great fire of 1917 the historic Ladadika district was the heart of Thessaloniki’s commercial activity and Jewish heritage. What survived both the fire and Nazi extermination is the heart of tradition and the city’s elegant beaux-arts pre-World War II rebuilding. Today it’s a trendy neighborhood of cafes and shops. Centuries old market arcades, the Modeano and Bezesteni in particular, still ply traditional goods such as textiles, flowers and jewelry.
Cafes surround the 15th century Bey Hamam, a preserved Ottoman public bathhouse.
The White Tower, built by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century on Roman and Byzantine foundations, is a popular icon and focal point of the new seaside promenade.
Ouzou Melathron is classically Greek as well as trendy Ladadika.
Agioli Restaurant serves fusion Greek on Thessaloniki’s seaside promenade.
Oval Café is surrounded by the city’s Parisian style architectural splendor.
Mediterranean Palace Hotel, traditional elegance in the Ladadika on the waterfront.
Astoria Hotel, in the Ladadika, is modern and kosher.
Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki and Hotel Nikopolis are elegant resorts near the airport with superb cuisine.
Follow the Wine Roads of Northern Greece and visit Domaine Anesti Babatzimopoulou.
Disclaimer: The author was a guest of the Halkidiki Tourism Authority and the Thessaloniki Hotels Association
For additional detailed articles on Thessaloniki by Marc d’Entremont please see:
Thessaloniki’s layers of civilization
Following threads in Thessaloniki
You can read more articles by Marc d’Entremont at:
Hellenic News of America
Original World Insights
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