The White Tower is the most commonly known monument of Thessaloniki and the symbol of the city because of its prominent position, long history and imposive architecture. The tower was built in 15th century in order to replace an older 12th century Byzantine fortification while it was later recontsructed by the Ottomans. It was used as a fort enhancing the harbors defences, as a garrison and a prison. Today the tower is open to the public while the visitors will have a chance to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view from its highest level. A very beautiful and informative museum inside the monument is dedicated to the city’s history, its multicultural spirit and several other aspects of Thessaloniki. Entering the White Tower and the museum located inside it, we soon realize that we are in the heart of the city. Through the presentation of features that help us understand Thessaloniki through time, such as the city’s urban character and its people, the exhibition focuses on important moments and aspects of the city’s life. Through atmospheric images and sounds, multimedia touch screen applications and a number of items displayed the visitor will be informed of what he sees today in Thessaloniki and what once used to exist. The goal of the museum is to further introduce the city to the visitors thus creating an essential relationship between the city and the people. Because of its location the White tower is probably the best place to begin your exploration, plus the view on the top is breathtaking! Definitely a must!
The Museum of Byzantine Culture was established in Thessaloniki in order to serve as a centre for the preservation, research and study of the evidence of Byzantine civilization surviving in the Macedonian region and particularly in Thessaloniki, the city which was the most important centre, next to Constantinople, in the European section of the Byzantine Empire. At the same time, it will be the seat of the European Centre for Research of Byzantine Civilization, established in cooperation with Unesco, for the purpose of providing further education to scholars, scientists and technicians on matters pertaining to the sesearch and preservation of Byzantine monuments. Byzantine civilization, the continuation and evolution of Ancient Greek civilization. rooted in the multiform tradition of Late Antiquity, eveloped a unified expressive idiom, through which it was able to transmit its own intellectual messages. Contemporary Thessaloniki, with its monuments which span the whole evolution of Byzantine Art through time, is an “open, outdoor” museum of Byzantine culture and refers us to the Museum as the centre of research of this culture. Conversely, the Museum will function an an extension of the Byzantine city, with a constant reference to its physical space and monuments. Thessaloniki has always been, from Byzantine times to this day, the gateway to the transcendental world of the Holy Mountain, the Ark of Orthodox Monasticism. The flow of ideas, of theological inquiry, of the new artistic trends, from the God-protected Holy Mountain to the rest of the Orthodox world, has always followed the path leading to the great Byzantine city. It is not coincidental, therefore, that the Museum of Byzantine Culture shall have the honour to host the first, great Exhibition of Treasures from the Holy Mountain.
One of the most characteristic monuments of Thessaloniki is the triumphal Arch of Galerius (Kamara), located north of Egnatia Street and in close proximity to the Rotunda. The Arch was built in the period of the Roman Tetrarchy (early 4th century AD) and was the western part of an eight-pillared gateway. The triumphal gate was situated vertically to the ancient Via Egnatia, which ran through the city (from west to east) and was part of the so-called Galerian complex, which included Rotunda, along with the palace and the hippodrome in the contemporary Navarinou and Ippodromiou squares. The Arch of Galerius was built to honor the Caesar, when he returned victorious to the city after his wars against the Persians. The Rotunda was built by the Roman emperor Galerius (305-11) as part of a large palace complex in Thessaloniki. It was probably intended to be his mausoleum, but it was never used as such. The Rotunda of Galerius was converted into a Christian church in the late 4th century or mid-5th century. The date of conversion to a church has been difficult to determine with any certainty. There is no written documentation about the event, so dating has to be based on analysis of the style of the mosaics and the historical situation of Thessaloniki in these early centuries.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki holds and interprets artifacts from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly from the city of Thessaloniki but also from the region of Macedonia in general. The museum is housed in a building designed by architect Patroklos Karantinos and is an example of the modern architectural trends of Greece. Built in 1962, the museum had a new wing added to it in 1980, in which the findings from Vergina were displayed, up until 1997. In 2001 and 2004, in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics, the museum was extensively renovated and its permanent exhibits reorganized. At present, the collection of Archaic to Late Roman sculptures from Thessaloniki and Macedonia in general is displayed in the central section of the museum. They illustrate the history of Thessaloniki from prehistoric times to Late Antiquity. These rooms display architectural members from an Ionic temple of the 6th century BC, sculptures of all periods from Macedonia, exhibits from the excavations in the palace complex built by Galerius in the Thessaloniki city centre, a reconstruction of the façade of the Macedonian tomb in Agia Paraskevi, with genuine architectural members, and finds (mainly gold artefacts) of the Archaic and Classical periods from the Sindos cemetery. In all these rooms, certain important exhibits have been singled out and further information about them is given to help visitors appreciate the importance of each exhibit and of the area and the period from which it comes. Apart from its permanent displays, the Archaeological Museum also hosts major temporary and thematic exhibitions. In the Manolis Andronikos Room, for instance, there is an exhibition titled The Coins of Macedonia from the 6th Century to 148 BC, with examples of coins that were circulating in Macedonia in that period. A showcase in the lobby of the museum displays some finds from the excavation of the Neolithic settlement at Makrygialos in Pieria, accompanied by information about the progress of the excavation. In the new wing, the The Gold of Macedon exhibition includes finds from numerous excavations in Central Macedonia. Taking the history of gold as its central theme, it presents the culture of Macedonia from the 6th century BC to 148 BC, discussing the use of gold (jewellery, sartorial decoration, gilding of objects and vessels, coins), the technology of the manufacture of gold jewellery, and the techniques of gold mining. There are also numerous finds from cemeteries, and their role in burial customs is described.
The Church of Saint Demetrius (Hagios Demetrios) is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki dating from a time when it was the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988. The temple is a fine sample of Byzantine religious architecture of the late early period of the Empire (7th century A.D.). The initial architectural design and interior decoration was significantly deteriorated, due to continuous reconstructions, additions and several disasters that occurred throughout the centuries. A number of different styles applied to the church, make Agios Dimitrios unique in terms of religious art. The church’s unusual hexagonal shrine (ciborium),is of special interest, while the older 5th century mosaics are of special value and beauty. The place attracts many guests and religious art specialists, especially from central and eastern Europe and many orthodox countries as well.
The Church of Agia Sophia (The Hagia Sophia) in Thessaloniki is one of the oldest churches in that city still standing today. It is one of several monuments in Thessaloniki included as a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list. Since the 3rd century, there was a church in the location of the current Hagia Sophia. In the 8th century, the present structure was erected, based on the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey). In 1205, when the Fourth Crusade captured the city, the Hagia Sophia was converted into the cathedral of Thessaloniki, which it remained after the city was returned to the Byzantine Empire in 1246. After the capture of Thessaloniki by the Ottoman Sultan Murad II on 29 March 1430, the church was converted into a mosque. It was reconverted to a church upon the liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912. Due to its 20th-century renovations, the Agia Sophia lacks some of the ambiance of Thessaloniki’s less restored churches. But the historical and artistic importance of this ancient sacred site still make it well worth a visit. Thankfully, some of Agia Sophia’s original mosaics have survived its turbulent history. The apse mosaics include a Virgin Enthroned and monograms of Constantine VI and the Empress Irene. Some mosaics survive from the Iconoclastic period, when figural representations were forbidden. The exterior is not especially attractive, but it occupies a fine setting in a garden with palms and pine trees. The interior is exceptionally spacious, covered with a dome 10 meters in diameter, while outside the church to the northwest is Agia Sophia Square, one of the most important squares in Thessaloniki.
The Ancient Roman Forum, the administrative centre of ancient Thessaloniki, occupied an area about two hectares in the heart of the city.
Its construction began at the end of the 2nd century A.D. on the site of an older forum dating from early Imperial times. The complex was arranged around a rectangular paved square. There were stoas on three sides, each of which consisted of a double row of columns and provided direct access to a surrounding zone of public buildings. The southern stoa stood on a vaulted substructure (cryptoporticus) – a double arcade which lay partly underground, making use of the natural slope of the land. To the south, along the whole of the cryptoporticus, lay a row of shops fronting the ancient shopping street which ran along the north side of present-day Philippou St. Off this street lay minor entrances to the square, while the latter opened north, to the present-day Olympou St. In the middle of the east wing, on the site of an earlier council – chamber, a building for public performances was erected, which, on the basis of the inscription and the statues of Muses found there, must have functioned as an odeon.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, was born in a house on Apostolou Pavlou St. in 1881. In 1935, Thessaloniki City Council gave it to the Turkish state, which decided to convert it into a museum dedicated to Kemal Atatürk. The building, which dates to before 1870, has three floors and a courtyard. It was repaired in 1981 and repainted its original pink. Most of the furniture is authentic. Any missing items were replaced with furniture from Kemal’s mausoleum and from Top Kapi in Istanbul. There are photographs on all the walls of Kemal at various periods of his life. There are four rooms on the ground floor, none of them of much interest to visitors. On the 1st floor is the reception room, with European sofas, a large console table, and a chased brazier; a large sitting-room, with low banquettes around the walls; Kemal’s mother’s room, with a bed, a banquette, and a trunk; and the kitchen, equipped with contemporary cooking utensils. The most impressive room on the 2nd floor is the one in which Kemal was born, a large room with a banquette, his desk, and a large brazier. It faces another room, in which some of Kemal’s personal effects from Ankara are displayed. These include formal dress, smoking requisites, cutlery, cups, and other items. All the documents relating to Kemal’s schooldays have been hung on the walls. A pomegranate tree planted by Kemal’s father still grows in the courtyard.
Bey Hamam, alternatively known as the “Baths of Paradise”, is a Turkish bathhouse located along Egnatia Street in Thessaloniki, east of Panagia Chalkeon. Built in 1444 by sultan Murad II, it was the first Ottoman bath in Thessaloniki and the most important one still standing throughout Greece. Its main features are its characteristic domes, which internally and externally draw the admiration of visitors, and the richly decorated Sultan’s hall. It operated as a hammam with separate sections for men and women (each had its own entrance) until 1968, but in 1972 its management passed to the Ministry of Culture. Later it was renovated by the 9th Byzantine Antiquities Office, and now serves as an exhibition hall.
Bezesteni is situated at the corner of Venizelou and Solomou Streets in Thessaloniki, at the heart of the market place, constituting one of the city’s most significant ottoman monuments. As it is stated, the Bezesteni was built to provide protection for the most valuable merchandise, such as the finest clothes and gold goods. This was where it got its name from, Bezesteni, meaning “clothes market”. Bezesteni is a square construction with four entrances in the middle of each side. It is covered with six lead domes in two lines, that stand with the help of seven double arches which are being developed over two central pessaries. In its interior, there used to be sixty nine small shops and in its exterior forty four, possibly of wooden construction.
Hamza Bey Mosque is a 15th-century Ottoman Mosque. Modern Thessalonians commonly know it as Alkazar, after a cinema that operated in the premises for decades. It was built by order of Hafsa Hatun, the daughter of Isa Bey Evrenosoğlu, but named after Hamza Bey, the Beylerbey of Rumeli. It was damaged in later earthquakes and fires and was rebuilt in 1620. The walls of the original building consists mainly of bands bricks and stones between zones. For the construction of the the peristyle, were used Christian columns. Inside the mosque iit s maintained the stalactite decoration of stucco and frescoes with floral and geometric motifs. The building was subsequently used for several decades as a shopping centre and cinema, and suffered extensive modifications. The mosque was handed over to the Greek Ministry of Culture in 2006, and restoration work has been under way since.
The Alatza Imaret monument is also known as Isak Pasha Mosque and can be translated as “The Colorful Seekers”. It is located in Kassandrou Str., nearby Hagios Demetrios church in the northeastern part of the city. Alatza, (many-colored) refers to the tiles and stones that covered the mosque in its glory days. Along with the Bezesteni, the Alatza Imaret is a poorhouse, or almshouse and is one of the best-preserved Turkish buildings in Thessaloniki. While you enter the monument, you can admire an inscription which describes the official release date of Alatza Imaret foundation, back in 1484 by Isak Pasha, who was a well-known commander of Thessaloniki and Grand Vizier of Mehmed II during the Ottoman period.
The Pasha Hamam is known to be an old hamam during the Ottoman days of Thessaloniki city and it is located between the streets of Kalvou and P. Karatza. The building was constructed during the decade 1520 – 1530 by Tzezeri-Wheels Koca Kasim Pasha, who was declared as the governor of the city when Souleiman the Magnificent move up on the throne. In the beginning, it was mainly a simple bath with a classic architectural profile and thereafter it worked as a double bath (after the necessary extensions) as there were two reserved actions, one for men and one for women. Nowadays, it is used as an archaelogical findings exhibition that were discovered during the Thessaloniki’s Metro excavations.
The Yahudi Hamami is located on the southwestern part of the center of Thessaloniki at the junction of King Herakleous, Fragkini and Komninon streets. According to its constructional, typological and morphological data, the construction of Yahudi Hamamı is placed in the first half of the 16th century. There were double baths with larger spaces mainly in the men section while its facilities are covered by a complex of domes which offer extra plasticity to the upper architectural structure of the building. Furthermore, the baths were working normally until the early 20th century and then they were transformed into flower-shops that is why the recent name of the baths is Louloudadika which means Flower Markets.
Mediterranean Cosmos is a shopping mall located in the east side of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. It opened in October 2005 and claims to be the largest retail and entertainment development in Southeastern Europe. It contains more than 200 retail units and facilities including an 11-screen multiplex cinema, numerous shops of fashion and electronics goods as well as coffeehouses, restaurants, bars, a supermarket, an amphitheatre with a capacity of 400 people and an Eastern Orthodox church. The mall is located about 5 km away from Thessaloniki International Airport, “Macedonia”, close to the busy suburb of Kalamaria and the Interbalkan Medical Center. It can be accessed by Greek National Road 67, the highway connecting Thessaloniki with the southern part of Chalkidiki. Inside the mall, a multitude of roads and squares have been created to reflect the character of traditional cities of Northern Greece, in combination with the advantages of a modern city’s centre.
The new big Outlet Mall in northern Greece, which opened recently, is the ultimate destination for shopping at incredibly competitive prices, great variety of products and excellent entertainment for the whole family. In a bright environment with impressive architecture that incorporates contrasting elements such as wood and metal, cement and green, the visitor can enjoy his stay satisfying his needs and desires. One Salonica Outlet Mall is in a privileged location at Thessaloniki’s West entrance, at the exit of Egnatia Road, that connects the city with the rest of Northern Greece and Balkans, just 3 km from the city center, making it an attractive destination. It has 60 branded Greek and internationally renowned shops of all kinds on the ground floor and on the first floor for shopping, while second floor has been formed offering options for fun. All kinds of guests, fashionistas, teenagers, families, young professionals and tourists can gain access to the most popular designer, fashion, sports and lifestyle brands at prices up to 70% lower than the market’s ones, throughout the year. On the 2nd floor of One Salonica Outlet Mall, visitors can relax by having lunch in the extremely pleasant environment. Great choices among Greek traditional tastes and international meals like McDonalds. For dessert, you should choose the delicious Cinnabon sweets or the authentic Greek frozen yoghurts.
Mega Outlet Mall is the only discount shopping center in North Greece. The location of Mega Outlet Mall provides easy access to the residents of the town, as it is only 10 km away from the city center, but also to the guests from the wider region of Macedonia and Balcanian countries. It is also easy to reach from Macedonia Airport as it is only 3.5 km away. You can discover a shopping heaven with total surface 15.000 m2 . Here you can find 92 individual stores with over 400 world’s leading fashion and lifestyle brands, in very low prices all year round! In Mega Outlet Mall you can enjoy exceptional offers. You can find your favorite brands (menswear, womenswear, kidswear) at discount prices all year long. You have the opportunity to create numeral combinations, choosing among the most stylish collections of clothing, shoes, accessories (sunglasses, bags, luggages and travel accessories, jewellery, watches), cosmetics, perfumes, lingerie for any occasion (casualwear, sportswear) and any demand.