Culture - Sights

A journey into culture

Thessaloniki is considered the cultural hub of Greece. There are many monuments and sights of interest, which reflect the town’s long history and cultural heritage. 

Some of the most representative sights and points of interest of Thessaloniki are:

White Tower: The city’s landmark dominates in the waterfront. It was part of the city’s walls and was built in the 15th century by the Ottomans. Today it houses an exhibition that presents aspects of Thessaloniki’s history from the city’s foundation in 316/15 B.C. and up to this day.

The 15 Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO: Namely these are The City Walls (4th/5th centuries), The Rotonda of Saint George (4th century), The Church of the Acheiropoietos (5th century), Latomou Monastery (6th century), The Church of Saint Demetrios (7th century), The Church of Hagia Sophia (8th century), The Church of Panagia Chalkeon (11th century), The Church of Saint Catherine (13th century), The Church of Saint Panteleimon (14th century), The Church of the Holy Apostles (14th century), The Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos (14th century), The Church of the Saviour (14th century), Vlatades Monastery (14th century), The Church of Prophet Elijah (14th century), Byzantine Baths (14th century).

The Arch of Galerius or Kamara: The most distinctive Roman structure of Thessaloniki was build in the 4th century to commemorate the victory of the Roman Emperor Galerius against the Persians.

Thessaloniki Concert Hall: It is located in the waterfront and hosts various events, such as theater, concerts, cultural and art exhibitions etc.

Nea Paralia (waterfront): One of the favorite destinations for Thessalonians and tourists. The city’s waterfront is 3.5 klm long, has 12 thematic parks and the magnificent statue of Alexander the Great riding his horse Voukefalas.

Thessaloniki Science Center & Technology Museum (NOESIS):A Planetarium, a Cosmotheater, a motion Simulator are some of the facilities. The center also hosts the Museum of Technology and various permanent and periodical exhibitions.

Seaside Locations

Aside from the beautiful area of Halkidiki with its breathtaking beaches, there are many beautiful beaches much closer to the city of Thessaloniki:

Stavros Thessaloniki: One of the most popular tourist resorts of Thessaloniki, which is characterized by natural beauty, crystal clear waters and numerous options for lovers of adventure and water sports.

Nea Michaniona: Near the city, lies New Michaniona, an area famous for the crystal clear waters and the excellent sea food.

Perea: Located two kilometers outside Thessaloniki, is the long sandy beach of Perea, which is mainly known for its amazing fish restaurants.

Olympiada: Two beautiful beaches with golden sand and crystal clear waters.

Epanomi: The highlight of this beach are the remains of a ship that sank more than 40 years ago. There are also tennis and volleyball courts in the area.

The city

Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece and the capital of the Region of Central Macedonia.

It is said that the city was founded in 316/15 BC by Cassander, King of Macedonia, who named the city after his wife and, Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki was the daughter of Philip II of Macedon and sister of Alexander the Great.

During the Roman Period, the city of Thessaloniki became the capital of one of the four Roman regions of Macedonia and was ruled by a Roman Praetor. Tradition has it that Apostle Paul preached Christianity in the area during his second missionary tour. During the Byzantine era Thessaloniki was considered the second most important city after Constantinople, due to its strategic position (its Port is the gateway to the Balkan Peninsula).

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and during the First Balkan War in 1912, Thessaloniki became part of the newly born official Greek State. In 1917, the largest part of the city was destroyed by what is known today as the Big Fire of Thessaloniki.

The massive population exchange that followed the Asia Minor disaster changed the face of the city completely. Refuges from Smyrna, the Coast of Asia Minor, the Black Sea and Pontus  Minor arrived in Thessaloniki, which doubled in size.

A black page in the city’s history is the extermination of the largest portion of the Jewish Population during the Nazi Occupation (1941-1944). Up to the second World War Thessaloniki had one of the largest and most thriving Jewish Communities in Greece.


There are more than 30 Museums and Galleries in Thessaloniki the most important of which are:


Archaeological Museum
(6, Man. Andronikou Str.)
The history of Ancient Macedonia is presented through magnificent artifacts, dating from the pre-historic era to late antiquity.
The Archaeological museum is one of the biggest museums is one of the biggest museums in
the country and the most important of Thessaloniki as it hosts the unique treasures of Vergina,
including the gold urn. In its big renovated hall, known as hall P, one can visit the exhibition
“The Gold of the Macedonians”, which has been enriched with new, unknown gold findings
which equal in brilliance those found in the royal tombs of Vergina. Gold and gilt findings
that date back to the period between the 6 th and 2 nd century B.C. and that were excavated from
the cemeteries of Macedonia are presented in the central part of the exhibition, whereas their
role in burial customs is also analysed.

Museum of Byzantine Culture
(2, Leof. Stratou)
A large collection of artworks dating between the 2nd and 20th century AC reveals aspects of the
Byzantine and the post-Byzantine culture from the city of Thessaloniki and the Region of Macedonia in general.
The museum of Byzantine Culture is housed in a modern building, which spreads over a total
area of 11.500 m 2 . In 2005, the Council of Europe nominated in European Museum of the
Year. The permanent exhibition of the Museum presents various aspects of Byzantine art and
culture, as well as of the period after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 to the Ottoman
Turks. More than 2.900 objects, wall paintings, mosaics, icons, marble architectural members,
valuable ecclesiastic utensils, as well as everyday use objects originating from the Northern
Greece area are displayed as witnesses of the culture that created them and the society that
used them.

(68, Vas. Olgas Str.)
The Folk Art and Ethnographic Museum of Macedonia-Thrace was founded in 1970 and is
housed in the old Government House, a building that is representative of the architecture and
eclectic style of the beginning of the 20 th century. Its collections comprise of 15.000 objects of
folk tradition, such as clothes of local communities, hand-woven materials, embroideries,
tools, everyday use utensils, furniture, woodworks, folk musical instruments and figures of
the shadow theatre.

State Museum of Contemporary Art: 
(Moni Lazariston, Warehouse B1-Port)
A dynamically developing museum that promotes modern and contemporary art, through its temporary exhibitions. 
One of the most important collections of the Museum is the Costakis Collection, which consists of 1275 artworks of prominent Russian Avant Garde artists.
The acquisition of the Giorgos Kostakis collection comprising of Russian avant-garde art
works by the Ministry of Culture made the operation of the Museum well-known throughout
the world. The museum at Moni Lazariston hosts works from the permanent collection of
Kostakis, while, since the summer of 2002, an exhibition area at the port has been functioning
parallel to the one at Moni Lazariston.

(International Fair grounds)
The permanent collection of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art comprises of
more than 1.500 paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs by well-known Greek and
Foreign artists, as well as works from the collection of Iola, which were donated by the great

(Warehouse A′, Port)
The permanent collection of the museum comprises of a significant number of photographs
by Greek and foreign photographers which have been either purchased or donated. Every
year, during spring, the Photosynkyria festival takes place with exhibitions that last for
several months.

(6 TH Km.Thessaloniki-Thermi)
The planetarium excites both children and grown-ups with its travels into space, which take
place in a hall that offers visitors the opportunity to view a three-dimensional image of the
motion and evolution of the universe. All the achievements accomplished by science and the
contemporary world can be found in the halls of the Museum of Technology.

(3 rd Septemvriou & Agiou Dimitriou Str.)
The extremely modern building of the museum hosts two large exhibitions; one on Greek and
foreign football comprising of T-shirts of famous football players, balls and cups and another
on track events consisting of flags, trophies, athlete cards and cups won by teams mainly from

(26 th Octovriou Str.)
Of particular interest is an old pumping plant with electricity generators, while extremely
impressive is also the area of the old steam generators, a unique archive consisting of maps
and designs for water supply works of the 19 th and 20 th century, as well as the water park
where pump machinery and water pumps are exhibited.

(23, Prox. Koromila Str.)
Among the most significant exhibits are the weapons uniforms and personal items belonging
to the leader’s of the Macedonian struggle (1904-1908), as well as a collection of 1300
photographs from that period. In the basement of the building one can see life-size dioramas
representing scenes of the struggle and on the ground floor there is an audiovisual system on
the Modern History of Macedonia.

(3 rd Soma Stratou)
Its permanent collections present all the important events of Modern Greek History, from the
Balkan Wars (1912-1913) to the liberation of the country (1944). At the core of the exhibits
are photographs of the time, uniforms of the armed forces, weapons and war spoils, stone
engravings, replicas of artillery and ships, letter-cards, works of art, maps indicating the
position of fortifications and rich archive material.

Gallery of the Society for Macedonian Studies: The developments in modern since 1850 can be viewed through the 300 paintings, sculptures and engravings that comprise the Gallery’s permanent collection.

Museum of Ancient, Greek, Byzantine Instruments: More than 200 musical instruments used in Greece from the Bronze Age to the early 20th century are exhibited in the Museum. The Museum is located in the historic district Ladadika of Thessaloniki.

Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
(13, Agiou Mina Str.)
Aspects of the daily, financial and religious life of the pre-World War II Jewish community of Thessaloniki is
presented through various relics, books written in the Hebrew language, photographs and documents.
The Jewish Museum was founded for the purposes of honouring the rich and creative
Sephardic heritage of the city, as the Jewish community developed it after the 15 th century. It
hosts printing, cartography and medical science tools, as well as exhibits from the everyday,
religious and commercial life of the community and, naturally, unique documents on the
Holocaust. Of great value are also the archives of the library, which includes rare editions
from the 16 th and 17 th century.

(Port, A′ Warehouse)
At the halls of the Museum of Cinema, one can see various film cameras and projectors,
developing equipment for films, a rich collection of Greek and foreign films and
documentaries. Also, transparencies, photographs, posters and promotional material for films,
books, cinema magazines and newspapers, while of particular interest are the giant handmade
posters and the music library which includes soundtracks on CD’s and LP’s.

(12-14, Katouni Str.)
The museum is housed in a renovated building belonging to the Bank of Piraeus. Its
collection comprises of more than 200 replicas of musical instruments dating from the period
from 2800 B.C. to the beginning of the 20 th century. At the same time, it also hosts 82
authentic musical instruments in a special showcase, alongside with the pictorial evidence of
their existence.

For additional information visit Thessaloniki’s Official Site


Fish is the treasure for New Michaniona, a small town about 32 km away from Thessaloniki
and home to one of the largest fishing fleets of Greece. The fish auction is the centre of the
fishing trade, providing fish and seafood to the whole of Macedonia. The auction of course is
not open to the public but you can reward yourself with a coffee at the picturesque port, eat
fresh fish or taste traditional doughnuts, enjoying the wonderful view of Olympus Mountain.

Full of life throughout the day, Athonos Square in the centre of the city is a place loved by
both Thessalonians and tourists alike. Food and nutrition plays the leading part here. You will
find spices, all types of tea, nuts, vegetables and fruits, fish, delicatessen products, as well as
small boutiques with clothes, handmade accessories, and decoration items. Moreover, your
attention will be instantly drawn to the smells of the delicious foods of the Square’s
traditional taverns. You can enjoy them both an lunchtime and evening, accompanied
occasionally by live greek music. Additionally, in case you want to get acquainted with the
traditional side of Athonos Square, visit the picturesque small shops selling handmade
wickerwork and small wooden furniture, made by the last remaining skilled craftsmen.

The largest enclosed market of the city, part of this gastronomic tradition, tied to
Thessaloniki’s everyday life, was built by the architect Eli Modiano in 1922. It is organized
into arcades surrounded by lofts, in accordance with European standards of the time. In
Modiano Market you will come across Thessalonians shop meat, fish, cheese, delicatessen
products, vegetables, spices and freshly blended coffee, as well as, relax at the traditional
taverns. Next to Modiano Market, Louloudadika Market is located, the multi-color outdoor
flower market with the Yiahudi (Bazaar) Hamam of 16 th century which currently hosts
cultural events.

One of the most traditional markets of Thessaloniki, Kapani, serves consumers’ needs ever
since Ottoman occupation. It’s an essential visiting spot for those interested in the city’s
gastronomic history and evolution because through its hospitable alleys, with the two-storey
buildings and the little shops, time seems to have stood still. The great variety of products,
such as meat, fish, spices, travel equipment, kitchen utensils, clothing, shoes, ecclesiastical
and touristic items etc, as well as low prices and location in the city’s centre, make Kapani a
very popular destination all day long. The best chance to blend in with the locals and feel
Thessaloniki’s beat.


Monasthriou 18, 54629 Thessaloniki
Tel.: +30 2310 596800
Fax: +30 2310 510555



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