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The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Thessaloniki, Greece
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The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Thessaloniki, Greece

Picture of Evangelos Tsirmpas
Updated: 9 February 2017
The second-largest Greek city combines a rich multicultural history, advanced facilities and a relaxed atmosphere, which is quite uncommon for such a densely inhabited place. The ‘Bride of Thermaikos’, is a charming city that will satisfy all tastes. In the following lines, you will read about some top museums, sights and areas you should visit while in Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki at sunset | © afilitos/Flickr
Thessaloniki at sunset | © afilitos/Flickr
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Ano Poli

Αno Poli is one of the few areas of Thessaloniki that was not destroyed by the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917. It is located north of Agios Dimitrios, on the highest point of the city and extends to the Byzantine walls. The residencies of the area with their narrow streets are authentic samples of the Macedonian and the Balkan architectural tradition and compose a picturesque peaceful atmosphere away from the urban rhythms of the city’s center. Ano Poli is a great way to get familiarized with the local tastes and enjoy a fascinating view of Thessaloniki from above.

Ano Poli, Thessaloniki, Greece

Typical architecture of Ano Poli | © Eugene Zagidullin/WikiCommons
Typical architecture of Ano Poli | © Eugene Zagidullin/WikiCommons
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Ladadika

Ladadika is the nightlife hotspot of Thessaloniki, attracting countless locals, students and tourists every night. Colorful neoclassical buildings surround bars, cafeterias, traditional taverns, tsipouradika and clubs in a unique mixture of the old with the new that will fascinate and satisfy everyone. The place was named ‘ladadika‘ after the first shops of the area that were focused on selling oil (‘ladi‘ in Greek) and oil products during the Ottoman occupation.

Ladadika, Thessaloniki, Greece

Street in Ladadika neighborhood | © Ian Kehoe/WikiCommons
Street in Ladadika neighborhood | © Ian Kehoe/WikiCommons
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Τhe Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

Τhe Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki was established in 1912 and it is located in a building that was designed by the Greek architect Patroklos Karantinos. It hosts findings from the wider area of Thessaloniki that represent the Macedonian culture from the prehistoric years until the later antiquity. Some of its most notable exhibits are the head of Serapis, the statue of Harocrates, gold medals and Medusa heads.

Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Andronikou 6, Thessaloniki, Greece, +30 231 331 0201

Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki | © Tilemahos Efthimiadis/WikiCommons
Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki | © Tilemahos Efthimiadis/WikiCommons
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Museum of Byzantine Culture

The museum of Byzantine Culture is one of the most modern museums in Greece, presenting a complete picture of the Byzantine culture through interesting exhibitions and other activities. Its objects come from the area of Macedonia and especially Thessaloniki, which is closely connected with Byzantine history and tradition. The museum’s objects (that include sculptures, mosaics, wall paintings, coins, ceramics and manuscripts) are presented in 11 halls according to thematic units, based on the scientific museological approach that each object cannot be conceived as an individual artifact, but can only be substantially approached through its inclusion in the society that created it.

Museum of Byzantine Culture, Leoforos Stratou 2, Thessaloniki, Greece

Museum of Byzantine Culture | © Tilemahos Efthimiadis/WikiCommons
Museum of Byzantine Culture | © Tilemahos Efthimiadis/WikiCommons
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White Tower

The living symbol of Thessaloniki is world famous and carries a rich history. The White Tower was constructed during the 15th century in the place of a previous Byzantine fortification and was later reconstructed by the Ottomans. Through the passage of time the Tower was used as fortification, but also as a famous prison (called ‘Tower of Blood’, for obvious reasons). It was named White Tower in 1891, when it was whitewashed. Nowadays, the tower is open to the public and the visitors have the opportunity to enjoy an amazing panoramic view from its top. Inside you will find a very interesting museum, which focuses on the history of Thessaloniki and the tower, plus there’s a gift shop.

White Tower of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, +30 231 026 7832

White Tower of Thessaloniki | Courtesy of Evangelos Tsirmpas
White Tower of Thessaloniki | Courtesy of Evangelos Tsirmpas

Hamams

During the period of the Turkish occupation many Turkish baths (hamams) were constructed in the city of Thessaloniki. The most famous one is Yahudi Hamam (which means ‘bath of the Jews‘), dating back to the 16th century; it was still in use until recently, and is located in the area Louloudadika. Another famous hamam in Thessaloniki is Bey Hamam (which means ‘bath of paradise’), built in 1444 and is located along Egnatia street. It is the largest hamam ever constructed in Greek territory, with a rich decoration, many halls and impressive paintings. You should visit one (or both) of them, in order to exprience the fruitful cultural interaction that has taken place in this multinational city through the ages.

Teloglion Foundation of Art

Nestoras and Alice Teloglou donated their collection of works of art and created the Teloglion Foundation of Art in 1972, which is set in a modern building in the north side of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The museum hosts the works of important Greek and European artists of the 19th and 20th century, from sculptures and aquarelles to oil paintings and drawing, as well a rich library that includes more than 15,000 books. The foundation aims to get its visitors familiarized with art, preserve and study the Greek cultural heritage and encourage children to engage with art through special interactive educational projects.

Teloglion Foundation of Art | © Vlas2000/WikiCommons
Teloglion Foundation of Art | © Vlas2000/WikiCommons
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Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art

The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art was established in 1979 and nowadays it is located within the setting of the Thessaloniki International Fair. It hosts about 2,000 works of art by Greek and foreign artists, a scientific library with more than 2,500 books, a cafeteria and a shop. The museum often organizes interesting events, conferences and discussions on aesthetic issues and the history of art, presentations of works of art, meeting with artists, interactive projects and bazaars.

Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Egnatia 154, Helexpo, Thessaloniki, Greece,+30 231 024 0002

Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art | © Vlass2000/WikiCommons
Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art | © Vlass2000/WikiCommons
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Thessaloniki International Film Festival

The top film festival of south-east Europe was established in 1960 as Greek Film Week and became international some decades later, in 1992. Since then, Thessaloniki International Film Festival has been a growing force on a global scale by presenting independent and professional film productions from all over the world.

Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Plateia Aristotelous 10, Thessaloniki, Greece,+30 231 037 8400

Head office of Thessaloniki International Film Festival | © Zorba/WikiCommons
Head office of Thessaloniki International Film Festival | © Zorba/WikiCommons

Churches

The element of religion plays an important role in the city of Thessaloniki, shaping, along with other factors and traditions, the architectural identity of the place. The post-Byzantine churches are some of the most representative art samples from the period of the Turkish occupation. The orthodox religion was a dominant factor of the Greek identity during those hard times, as the Greeks of Thessaloniki found spiritual shelter in the orthodox churches. Some of the most interesting Christian churches date back to the period of the Turkish occupation are Agios Dimitrios, Agios Athanasios, Panagia Trani, Agios Antonios and Agios Minas.

Church of Agios Dimitrios, Thessaloniki | © Klearchos Kapoutsis/WikiCommons
Church of Agios Dimitrios, Thessaloniki | © Klearchos Kapoutsis/WikiCommons