It is easy to fall in love with Thessaloniki – it has a remarkable cuisine, history and culture, chaos, beauty, and vast, wonderful sea views. This is the country’s second city, which has suffered the economic crisis hit just like the rest of Greece, but the streets are still full of vibrancy and life. Here are the top must-see attractions in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Macedonia’s prehistory, Roman and Hellenistic periods are chronicled magnificent, home to many major archaeological discoveries in the region. Highlights include artworks from various graves and hoards, and the Derveni Krater, an enormous baroque Hellenistic tin-and-bronze vase marked by complex relief carvings of Dionysos, together with ivy vines, animals, and mythical figures. The Derveni Papyrus, the oldest surviving papyrus piece in Greece is recognized as Europe’s oldest book by UNESCO.
Museum of Byzantine Culture
This captivating museum has lots of treasures to excite Byzantine buffs, and easy explanations to introduce this empire and its culture to beginners. Over 3,000 Byzantine objects, including intriguing glassware, jewelry, icons, tomb paintings, and mosaics, are displayed. You will be discerning early-Christian confidently from late-Byzantine icons in this museum.
Church of Agios Dimitrios
This huge seventh-century basilica honors the patron saint of Thessaloniki. Dimitrios, a Roman soldier was around 306 AD at this former bath site by the order of Emperor Galerius, the notorious persecutor of Christians. The site if the martyrdom is now a crypt; the remains of Dimitrios occupy a reliquary inside. While the fire of 1917 of the city was very damaging, 5 8th-century mosaics survive.
Church of Osios David
This laid-back fifth-century church, once the major church (katholikon) of the Monastery of Savior Christ of Latomos, is among Thessaloniki’s most important early-Christian sites. It contains rare twelfth-century frescoes and a magnificent fifth-century mosaic of Christ as well as the prophets Habakkuk and Ezekiel. Absolutely glorious, the Turks covered this church up during its time as a mosque. It was rediscovered in 1920.
The iconic landmark of Thessaloniki, the 34 meters high White Tower has a grievous history as a place of execution and prison. Built in the 15th century by the Ottomans, it was here that Sultan Mahmud II brutally killed the troops of rebellious janissaries in 1826. It is believed that this structure was referred to as the Tower of Blood until it was painted white by a prisoner in exchange for his freedom when it was renamed White Tower (Lefkos Pyrgos) in 1813.