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DECEMBER 17

Thessaloniki Travel Guide

Attractions in Thessaloniki



The Church of Agios Demetrios
The Church of Agios Demetrios is the greatest church of Thessaloniki and is dedicated to Saint Demetrios - the patron of the city. The original church was erected in 313 A.D. The church has been re-built twice, as twice before it was destroyed, in 1917 and 1949. Visit the crypt or “Martyrion” of Saint Demetrios, which was discovered beneath the altar and the flaps. It includes items that survived the fire and those found in recent excavations. A chapel of St. Euthymios is attached to the south-east corner. This church is located on Agious Dimitriou St. (north-west of the city). Tel: +3031 - 221 3627

White Tower
This Tower was built in the 15th century which served as a defensive fortification, an infamous prison, a place of execution, and now is home to a wonderful collection of sculptures, frescoes, and other fascinating artifacts from 300 to 1400 AD portraying the amazing history and culture of the city. The White Tower, once known as the Bloody Tower, has become the city’s most famous landmark. It is best to visit in late afternoon, on a warm summer evening, when the whole place is full of life, boats on the shore, kids playing, and people enjoying the Mediterranean outdoors. You will never forget the sunset.

Palace
Galerius erected himself a palace here. After all, his co-emperor Diocletian was building himself a perfectly splendid palace at Split, on the Dalmatian coast. Little remains of Galerius's royal home, but even these low ruins give you an idea of the size of the two-story palace with its large central patio fit, in short, for an emperor. The best preserved part of the complex is the Octagon; the mysterious building that some archaeologists think may have been Galerius's throne room. The Octagon, exceptionally opulent and richly decorated with a multicolored marble floor, had two interior recesses. One, a good deal larger than the others, would have been ideal for a throne. That said, it should be noted that a very similar structure erected by Diocletian in Spoleto, Italy, was not a throne room but a mausoleum. Allow half an hour here.

Vergina
This is the ancient site of Aigai and the first capital of Macedonia, located about 20 minutes from Thessaloniki has extensive ruins including the tomb of Phillip and the summer palace of King Antigonas Gonatas. The site also houses a museum which houses the artifacts found during the excavations. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 3:30 but stays open until 7 in the summer.

The Arch of Galerius
Another city landmark is known simply as the “Kamara” (arch), erected in 305 A.D. to celebrate the victory of the Emperor over the Persians. Today only part of the monument stands (3 pillars and part of the masonry above). Pillars are covered with sculpted marble slabs, which show the wars of Galerius against the Persians.

Ladadika
Ladadika was the only quarter to survive the 1917 fire. Once it served as a storage and trading-place for olive oil. Today is an important spot with numerous taverns and bars housed in the buildings of past times that have been restored.

Mount Olympus
The highest mountain of Greece was the seat of the Olympian gods in ancient times, and a preferred destination for mountain climbers today. Located to 1.5 hours from Thessaloniki is rich in tree and plant life, supporting more than 1,700 species, some very rare. The main village in the area is Litohoro, which is connected to Athens and Thessaloniki by bus and train. It is possible to climb the highest peak in about two days, without experience or special equipment, along numerous mountain trails.

The Rotunda
The Rotunda,a domed building of early 4th century A.D., erected to be the mausoleum of Galerius in 305, was converted into a church dedicated to St George in the mid-fifth century and was used later as a mosque by the Turks who added the minaret that is presently being repaired.

Agia Sofia
A splendid example of Byzantine architecture. The Agia Sofia church was built in the seventh century over a 5th century basilica. Its plain exterior is compensated by great mosaics and frescoes created inside between the 8th and 12th centuries.

The Arch of Galerius
To celebrate Galerius's victory over the Persians in 297 AD, this archway was erected in 305 A.D. and reliefs were sculpted onto the surfaces of the arch depicting scenes from the battle.






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