"There is a homeland for everyone, while there is Thessaloniki." (Niκ. Houmnos, 14th c. Byzantine dignitary and a Scholar).
Thessaloniki has been in existence for over 23 Centuries and has one of the richest histories of any city in Europe! This makes it truly unique, not just in Europe but in the history of humanity. If you are a history buff, you will never forget Thessaloniki. Check out Mark Mazower’s book Salonica, City of Ghosts.
There are three main religions here, Byzantine, Jewish and Ottoman that blend without bending. At the moment, the city is busy building the largest Jewish Holocaust Museum on the planet. There are several mosques, such as the “Alaca Imaret” on Kassandrou Street that dates back to 1484. And of course, the Church of St. Dimitri (patron saint of Thessaloniki) that presides over the center from high above.
This multicultural city that Greeks call “Salonica” is a fast-growing modern metropolis that is full of ancient and modern architecture. You can barely turn a corner without finding something worth stopping to look at!
Thessaloniki is, without a doubt, the most “hip” city in Greece full of vitality. Vitality, that is also the fruitful product of its student-strong population of 150,000, an under-30s do-it-yourself youth culture-creative movement seen nowhere else in the Southern part of Europe. Vitality and rush; but if you think that everyone in Thessaloniki is rushing somewhere all day, just wait until nightfall, when everyone, in a town festooned with bars and clubs, stops at a favorite cafe or out to dinner - this, before or after taking in a play or concert at one of the city's theaters, concert halls, nightclubs and bars.
Its population of over 800.000 makes it the fifth largest and most populated city in the Balkans and the second most populated city that is not a capital, after Istanbul, Thessaloniki is Greece's second major economic, industrial, commercial and political center, and a major transportation hub for the rest of south-eastern Europe.
Festivals abound, there is almost always something going on! Such as the “Thessaloniki International Trade Fair,” the “International Film Festival,” the HelExpo center with trade shows of every kind, a burger festival, a beer festival and so much more! Not to mention the famed nightlife is to be loved unconditionally; and it is. Thessaloniki is widely considered the cultural capital of Greece! Seen easily in how many Greek bands, and artists of every kind that come from the area. Seen easily in the street artists that haunt the airwaves with their sounds and handmade goods.
Take a walk around and you will see Paleochristian monuments, constituting a Unesco World Heritage Site, an open – air Byzantine museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Arch of Galerius with its Rotunda, the Castle Fortress way above and the blue Thermaikos below. Along with a multitude of enticing smells and sights unchanged over centuries, the incredible Kapani Market, the Organic Market, don’t forget the City’s trademark - the White Tower; the fashionable hangouts of Ladadika, shopping on Tsimiski, a walk through the park and up to the ancient marketplace… and Plateia Aristotelous with the innumerable, interchangeable café-bars and their sleek clientele sucking up the breeze of the mighty Thermaikos bay.
YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH THESSALONIKI!!
Here in the midst of past and present, that of tristesse and ferocity, a place where genuineness and coolness not only is abundant but also rewarded for being precious.
As precious are its cuisine and palate pleasures. Truly, nowhere else in Greece can one find so many different flavors combined on the same table. And if anyone is to acquire even the slightest idea about the local history, they must get to know its flavors. Thessaloniki is famous for its traditional cuisine, especially fish and seafood, cooked in manners that betray the origin of their influences. With various religions and customs having added to or subtracted from its ancient gastronomic features, but retaining its traditional Greek profile, the city is nothing but a crossroads of flavors, a metropolis of tastes, a gastronomic capital. A city of pleasure, with a warm, big heart, as its official campaign goes, has this drawing power that will forever be a part of your heart and soul.