Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia. Population reached in 2011, 1 milion inhabitants.
Thessaloniki has always been a crossroad of civilizations, a place where the East and West meets, where great cultures and religions have been mixed. Gastronomy, events, world-class heritage sites, shopping are some of the things that visitors can indulge in.
Not to mention the distinctive student vibe that is an integral part of its charm as the city hosts country’s largest university campus, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
The city was founded around 315 BC by the King Cassander of Macedon, He named it after his wife Thessalonike a half-sister of Alexander the Great and princess of Macedon as daughter of Philip II.
After the fall of the kingdom of Macedon in 168 BC, Thessalonica became a free city of the Roman Republic under Mark Antony in 41 BC. When the Roman Empire was divided into the tetrarchy, Thessaloniki became the administrative capital of one of the four portions of the Empire under Galerius Maximianus Caesar, where Galerius commissioned an imperial palace, a new hippodrome, a triumphal arch and a mausoleum among others.
In the early 20th century, Thessaloniki was in the center of radical activities by various groups. Most of the old center of the city was destroyed by the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917, which started accidentally by an unattended kitchen fire on 18 August 1917. The fire swept through the centre of the city, leaving 72,000 people homeless. Many businesses were destroyed, as a result, 70% of the population were unemployed.
Today Thessaloniki has become one of the most important trade and business hubs in Southeastern Europe, with its port, the Port of Thessaloniki being one of the largest in the Aegean and facilitating trade throughout the Balkan hinterland.
Architecture in Thessaloniki is the direct result of the city’s position at the centre of all historical developments in the Balkans. After the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917, a team of architects and urban planners including Thomas Mawson and Ernest Hebrard, a French architect, chose the Byzantine era as the basis of their (re)building designs for Thessaloniki’s city center. The plan of 1917 included provisions for future population expansions and a street and road network that would be, and still is sufficient today. The city center, or as its also called the historic center is divided into several districts, of which include Ladadika (where many entertainment venues and tavernas are located), Kapani (where the central city market is located), Diagonios, Nauarinou, Rotonta, Agia Sofia and Ippodromio (white tower), which are all located around Thessaloniki’s most central point, Aristotelous Square.
With the group you can visit (sightseeing) : White Tower, Rotonda, St.Dimitrios Church, Navarino Square, Aristotelous Square and much more…