Thessaloniki City Guide

Home of the Thessalonians of the Bible, Thessaloníki is the second largest city in Greece, posing as the next most prosperous city from its capital Athens. The city is also known by the name of Thessalonica or what its locals fondly call, Salonica. A port city having hilly parts facing the bay, the modern metropolis is a bustling place for international trade, transportation and politics. Deriving its name from Thessalo-nikē which means Thessalian victory, the city was founded by a Macedonian king after a victory over rival foes. Under the Macedonian rule, it became the capital of the Greek region until it was passed on and ruled by different reigning powers during the course of history ranging from the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire down to the Ottoman Rule. Although it was ruled by different kingdoms and was damaged by earthquakes, the city, being the center route in the trade and industry, stood triumphantly and never lose its noble place. During the 19th century up to the present, the city is prospering ahead its counterparts in terms of economic strength and stability. Rested on the north eastern part of Greece, Thessaloníki is bordered by three different seas, the Ionian, the Mediterranean and the Aegean. It is also bordered by a vast land on the north that connects Thessaloníki both to the eastern and western worlds. Thus it explains why the city is a best port area and serves as an excellent trade passage to different worlds. Its culture is more like influenced by the east as it was a part of the eastern Roman Empire. Nowadays, Thessalonians are people whose relaxed nature is obvious in contrast to the busy characteristic of the metropolis. Thessaloníki’s climate is different from other cities. It is a cross between the usual Mediterranean and mild European climate. Summers are often very hot and winters are contrastingly dry. Frosts are common in the mornings while snow never really occurred for a lot of days. For tourist to enjoy the local but busy city life, the best time to travel is during the height of spring and autumn. Being at the center of industrial developments and trade routes, the structural design of the city ranges from old to modern, with Ottoman to Jewish but mostly with Byzantine influences. Due to economic expansion, construction of new and modern hubs was done. The place was inhabited by hotels, factories, entertainment and sport centers and large, modern port that became very important in Europe’s flow of trade. Thessaloníki’s free port focuses around oil, construction materials such as cement and steel, wines and pharmaceutical products. The port serves as the gatekeeper of important products throughout the Balkan Peninsula. Thessaloníki is also an international entertainment center as it hosts a lot of international trade fairs, film festivals, exhibitions and other notable events. Indoor arenas and stadiums are also widespread in the city, with football and basketball being the most popular sports. A place that strives to flourish, Thessaloníki was able to stand tall against the course of time and is continuing to hold its important place up to the present.