Thessaloniki Greece is the capital of the Greek Macedonia
area and the second largest city in Greece,
after Athens. It is an important
cultural, industrial, commercial and educational center,
and its port is one of the busiest in the country. Thessaloniki
is also a transportation hub in Greece, with an international airport, Greece
ferry lines that carry passengers to the islands,
and numerous train and bus options for getting around
the countryside. Thessaloniki is quite hip and chic, featuring
high fashion shopping and a number of wonderful restaurants
and ouzeries offering delicious Greek food and delicacies.
Those flying into Thessaloniki can often find good deals
in airfare through various internet search engines, and
many charter flights out of the UK offer cheap air fares
to Thessaloniki through unsold, excess seats with restricted
Thessaloniki Greece hosts two significant Greek festivals and events in the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. More than 300,000 people visit the Trade Fair each year and it runs the course of ten days every September. The Thessaloniki Film Festival is one of the leading film festivals not only in the area, but worldwide as well. It also runs for 10 days, and is held every year in mid-November. Thessaloniki has the largest student population in the country, mostly due to the fact that it houses two state universities, including Aristotle University, which is the largest in Greece.
The history of Thessaloniki, like any European destination, is long and complex. Thessaloniki Greece was founded in 315 BC, and the name of the city is taken after King Cassander’s wife, Thessalonica, sister of Alexander the Great. Thessaloniki was first a city based in the Kingdom of Macedon, and soon after its founding, a parliament was established in representation of the king. In the 2nd century BC, the Roman era in the history of Thessaloniki began with the fall of Macedon in 168 BC. It would soon become and important hub for trade within the Roman Empire, due to its location along trade routes connecting Europe with Asia.
The Romans would make Thessaloniki one of the foremost provinces in the region, and the port they established there served the city until the 18th century. Today, you can still find remnants of the Roman port, near the Axios river. By the 1st century AD, a Jewish colony had established itself in Thessaloniki, and the city was also an important center in the Christian world. One of the most important early Christian missionaries, Paul of Tarsus, would play a key role in establishing the foundations of a Christian church in the city. Important monuments found in the city today from the periods of Macedon and Roman history in Thessaloniki include the Arch and Tomb of Galerius, and the Church of St. Demetrius. St. Demetrius is the patron saint of Thessaloniki, who died a martyr in a Roman prison during the rule of the emperor Maximian, who was anti-Christian.
As the Roman Empire began its split, the Byzantine era in the history of Thessaloniki would begin, and the city would rise in importance, second only to Constantinople. Thessaloniki would experience its fair share of tumult during this period, but would also be marked by quiet eras allowing the city to flourish. In 620 AD, an earthquake damaged much of the city, and soon after attacks from the Slavs would prove unsuccessful in taking over the city. From the 10th-12th centuries AD, Thessaloniki would enjoy prosperity and relative peace. Thessaloniki would eventually again continue to change hands and at one time fall under control of the Latin Empire, only to be regained by the Byzantines. Many Byzantine churches and frescoes remain today in the city and are well worth visiting.
In the 15th century AD, the Ottoman Empire would gain control of Thessaloniki, and both Muslims and Jews would begin to inhabit the city in greater numbers. The Ottomans would go on to welcome Sephardic Jews being expelled from Spain in an attempt to lessen Greek influence in the city. Eventually, however, the Greek Army would defeat the Ottoman Turks in 1912 and gain control of Thessaloniki, only to lose it to the Bulgarian Army a day later. The city would remain in a sort of limbo until on August 10, 1913, when the Treaty of Bucharest put it under Greek control. Thessaloniki Greece would be largely destroyed on August 18, 1917, by a fire caused by French soldiers. The plan for rebuilding would help to create the modern metropolis that Thessaloniki is today.
Thessaloniki Greece has many landmarks and museums that reflect its storied past. It is a wonderful point from which to access the great Greece beaches of Halkidiki and other points of interest in the Greek Macedonian region. Thessaloniki hotels are among the best in Greece.