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Tour Guide Information

Welcome to Thessaloniki!

The second biggest city in Greece and one of the most impressive and energetic European cultural capitals invites you to explore  every step of her  legendary history of 23 centuries and to become part of a marvellous mosaic of cultures that shape a lively present.

This sea side city, now home to more than a million people, has always been a cosmopolitan metropolis and a powerful economic and cultural force throughout the entire Southeastern European region. Its history is reflected in its countless Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine and modern monuments.

Furthermore, Thessaloniki is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a vibrant cultural centre with theatres, clubs, contemporary art museums, galleries, designer shops and a bustling café culture.

Do not miss the opportunity to experience this multicultural city and its world-class Greek hospitality. It is truly a city that rewards the explorer!

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// Landmarks

#01. Let's go for a walk at the old ''Ladadika''

The Ladadika district, close to the port, is an authentic and unspoiled part of the city's history. The renovated buildings give one the sense of another time, while the many tavernas, cafés, bars and clubs offer a wide range of leisure options – some relaxed, some busier and more intense in their atmosphere.

#03. The Port

The area around the old port has become an attractive part of the city's nightlife in recent years. The opening of multiple-venue centers like Mylos , as well as the construction of new hotels and many clubs, has given a new breath of life to the district, which up until 1990 had been neglected. At the Mylos centre  there are cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as concerts by Greek and foreign performers, art shows and exhibitions, and theatrical or dance performances. If you follow the waterfront in an easterly direction, you will come to Nea Krini, a district with a lively nightlife, many cafés, bars and tavernas along Plastira Street and near the marina, where many impressive leisure vessels are moored.

#03. Ano Poli

Although partly modernized, Ano Poli – meaning Upper Town – is still one of the most picturesque districts in Thessaloniki, with a distinct character of its own. Its Byzantine walls and towers are of striking beauty and in its maze of tiny streets and traditional houses, the way of life of its inhabitants seems untouched by modernity. 'Ano Poli' is certainly the most fundamental part of Thessaloniki's architectural heritage and its old churches and monuments will also attract the visitor's interest. The many small taverns to be found there complete the idyllic picture.

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// Museums

  • Thessaloniki ArchaeologicalMuseum
  • Museum of Byzantine Culture
  • Folk Art & Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace
  • Water Works Museum of Thessaloniki
  • Thessaloniki Science Center & Technology Museum NOESIS
  • State Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Municipal Art Gallery
  • Cultural activities at the Port of Thessaloniki
  • Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
  • Sport Museum


#01. Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum

The Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum has exhibits illustrating the life and culture of the Macedonian region from the dawn of prehistory to the final days of the ancient world and the early years of Christianity. The philosophy of the museum is to re-create the life and daily routine of the people who inhabited the region over the many centuries of the ancient world.

6, M. Andronicou str.
tel. +30 231 0830538
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www.amth.gr

#02. Museum of Byzantine Culture

Winner of a Council of Europe Prize in 2005, the Museum of Byzantine Culture seeks to present various aspects of life in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods: art, ideology, social organization, religion and the influence of historical developments and the political situation on the daily life of ordinary people. At the same time the museum serves as an exemplary center for the preservation, research into and promotion of Byzantine and post Byzantine culture.

2, Stratou Ave.,
tel. +30 2310 868570
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www.mbp.gr

#03. Thessaloniki Science Center
and Technology Museum - ''NOESIS''

The Noesis Centre for Dissemination of Science and Museum of Technology is the ideal environment in which visitors can learn and understand issues of science and technology. The Centre also takes an active interest in issues of technical culture. The main facilities of the Centre include:

  • Digital Planetarium, which has a dome with a diameter of 25m and a hemispherical screen with a diameter of 18m. There are 150 reclining seats from which visitors can observe re-creations of a variety of astronomical and physical phenomena.
  • Virtual Reality Simulator, with 18 seats, offering simulations of various situations including a journey into space and a voyage to the depths of the ocean.
  • Auditorium-Wide-Screen Cinema. A special auditorium with 300 seats and the largest flat screen anywhere in Greece (17m x 23m).
  • Technology Museum, with exhibits illustrating the history of technology and science, with the appropriate informational material and multimedia applications.

6th kilometer Thessaloniki-Thermi highway
Tel. +30 231 0483000
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www.tmth.edu.gr

#04. State Museum of Contemporary Art

The State Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in the Lazariston Monastery, and its activities include the work the Centre for Contemporary Art. Among other exhibits, the Museum also houses the very important Costakis Collection of 1,275 works by artists of the Russian avant-garde.

21, Kolokotroni str. Moni Lazariston
tel. +30 231 0589140
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end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 0593270

www.greekstatemuseum.com/kmst

#05. Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art

The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art offers the public an opportunity to acquaint themselves with visual artists from Greece and abroad, through major exhibitions and parallel events. The Museum was founded in the late 1970's and also houses a library with special editions, a valuable resource for the academic community.

154, Egnatia str. Helexpo,
tel. +30 231 0240002
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end_of_the_skype_highlighting,

www.mmca.org.gr

#06. Municipal Art Gallery

The Thessaloniki Municipal Art Gallery was founded in 1966 and now has three exhibition venues, the main Villa Mordoh building, the Casa Bianca and the Cultural Centre. The works of artists from Thessaloniki make up the most important of the Gallery's collections, in terms of quantity and quality.

Villa Mordoh: 162, Vassilisis Olgas & 25 Martiou str.
Casa Bianca: Vassilisis Olgas & Th. Sofouli str.
Cultural Center: G. Lambraki & Kleanthous str.
http://www.thessalonikicity.gr/politistika/politismos/pinakothiki.htm

#07. Museum of the Macedonian Struggle

The purpose of the Museum is to preserve and disseminate information on the Greek struggle to liberate Macedonia, and to conduct research into the recent history and cultural identity of the Macedonian region. The Museum helps to familiarize the public with Greek and Balkan history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

23, Proxenou Koromila str.
tel. +30 231 022978,

www.ima.edu.gr/imma

#08. Sport Museum

The Museum of Sport was founded in 1998 in association with a number of national and local agencies. The building in which it is housed forms part of an area of particular interest from a sporting, educational and cultural perspective, while the actual museum infrastructure allows for diverse uses of the available space.

3, Septemvriou and aghiou Dimitriou Streets,
tel. +30 231 0968531
begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +30 231 0968531
end_of_the_skype_highlighting

#09. Home of Kemal Ataturk

In 1935 the Thessaloniki City Council donated to the Turkish state the house where Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic, was born. Now converted into a museum, the building has two floors. The house itself, which dates from before 1870, has three stories and a courtyard. The first floor has a drawing room for guests, the room used by Kemal's mother, the living room and kitchen. On the second floor is the room where Ataturk was born in 1881. Another room has a display of personal items belonging to the 'father of the modern Turks', and a display of documents from his schooldays can be seen on the wall.

Apostolou Pavlou & 151 Aghiou Dimitriou str.
(behind the Turkish Consulate),
tel. +30 231 0248452
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end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

#10. THREE MUSEUMS AT...
...the Port of Thessaloniki

The old warehouses at the Port of Thessaloniki, built in the early years of the last century, are now home to three contemporary museums: the Contemporary Art Centre and the Photography Museum, which are run by the State Museum for Contemporary Art, and the Cinema Museum, the only one of its kind in Greece.

Contemporary Art Centre - Warehouse µ1, Port of Thessaloniki,
Photography Museum, Warehouse ∞, Port of Thessaloniki,
tel. +30 231 0566716
begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +30 231 0566716
end_of_the_skype_highlighting, www.thmphoto.gr

Cinema Museum, Warehouse ∞,
tel: +30 231 0508398
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end_of_the_skype_highlighting,

www.cinemamuseum.gr.

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// Archeological Sites

An excellent starting point for interesting excursions to destinations of natural beauty and historical interest  are:

#01. Vergina (UNESCO World Heritage Site)*

At the southernmost edge of the Macedonian plain, nestling in the foothills of Pieria, lays Aiyes – the first city of the Macedonians. Ancient Aiyes (now known as Vergina) is 80 kilometers from Thessaloniki and was the capital of the ancient Macedonian kingdom. In the late 1970's the eminent archaeologist Manolis Andronikos uncovered the tombs of the Macedonian kings, concealed under the so-called Megali Toumba – the Great Mound. It was here that the famous golden casket was found with the 'Sun' of Vergina, the symbol of the kingdom of Philip II. The tombs of Philip II and Alexander IV, known as the 'tomb of Persephone', and the palace of Aiyes are just some of the monuments which can still inspire awe in the visitor, overwhelmed by the majesty they express.

#02. Pella

Capital of the Macedonian kingdom in its heyday, when the conquests of Alexander had taken Greek civilization to the limits of the known world, Pella is just 40 kilometers from Thessaloniki. The Pella Archaeological Museum, the Macedonian tombs, the sanctuaries and other monuments revealed by excavation are visited every year by thousands of people from Greece and abroad.

#03. Dion

Dion, the location sacred to Zeus at the foot of Mt. Olympus, is just 85 kilometers from Thessaloniki. The royal dynasties of the Macedonians attached enormous importance to the city. From as early as the end of the 5th century BC magnificent ceremonies and sacrifices to Zeus and the Muses of Pieria took place here. The archaeological site is organized to provide visitors with clear paths to follow, and there is a guide who can help them tour the whole of the large site. No visit will be complete without a tour of the Dion Archaeological Museum, which holds all the portable finds excavated at the site. One of the most famous of these is the 2nd century mosaic from the symposium room, depicting the triumph of God Dionysus.

#04. Olympus

It was no accident that the twelve gods made Mt. Olympus their home; the remote beauty of the mountain, its inaccessible peaks covered with snow all year round, stimulated the fertile imagination of the ancient Greeks. And beneath the peaks, in the thick, shady forests of the foothills, the Muses played. Arriving at the country town of Litochoro at the foot of Mt. Olympus, whose peaks tower over the landscape, it is easy to see why the early inhabitants of the region imagined these hills and mountains as the scene of the Battle of the Titans. Olympus, on the boundary separating Macedonia and Thessaly, is the highest mountain in Greece, rising 2,917 meters above sea level.

#05. Rotunda and Kamara

The Roman and Byzantine eras were the periods which determined the physical appearance of the city, giving it its distinctive character. Thessaloniki has always been recognized as one of the most important of Byzantine cities, where many remains of the period are still to be seen. The Rotunda, which takes its name from its circular ground plan, is an imposing brick building at the junction of A. Pavlou and Philippou Streets. It was probably built in the reign of the Emperor Galerius (306-311 AD) and is a characteristic example of the monumental architecture of the Later Roman Period. Close to the Rotunda stands the famous Kamara - or the Arch of Galerius, to give it its formal title.

#06. Byzantine churches (Unesco World Heritage Sites)

The landmarks of Thessaloniki also include many Byzantine churches – foremost among them Aghios Dimitrios (7th century and later) with its mosaics and catacombs, the majestic Aghia Sophia (7th century), whose huge central dome is decorated with a vast mosaic of the Ascension, the Panayia Halkeon (11th century), and the Aheiropoiitos (5th century), with the oldest and best-preserved eastern basilica to have survived to the present day. Other religious buildings worth seeing in the city are the Latomou Monastery (with its little katholikon ), Osios David (6th century) with its superb mosaic, the Vlatadon Monastery (14th century), the Church of Aghios Nikolaos Orphanos (14th century), which is the katholikon of an older monastery, and also the Aghion Apostolon and Aghia Aikaterini churches, these too examples of the so-called Palaeologan style of the 14th century, Thessaloniki's Golden Age.

#07. The White Tower – The symbol of the city

What was to become Thessaloniki's symbol, the White Tower was built in the fifteenth century as a coastal defense tower. It originally linked the city's east and south wall perimeter, which was demolished in 1866. For centuries, it was used both as guards' quarters and as a prison. Today, it houses a museum with various collections of icons, frescoes and other artifacts, most of them dating from the Byzantine era.


*The information concerning the museums and the cultural guide was obtained
from Thessaloniki Convention & Visitors Bureau – TCVB

 

Shopping

Shopping is an art form in Thessaloniki and the city offers shopping experiences to match every budget and style. The heart of the shopping experience beats at the city centre, a very compact and walkable area where you can buy everything from international brand names to local delicacies and artwork. As a rule of thumb, the closer you get to the sea, the more expensive the shops get.

Tsimiski Street is the main shopping street, where visitors can find a selection of retailers typical of a high street. Bargaining for the prices is expected and you are encouraged to do so, especially if you have bought lots of things.

Officially, shops are open Monday to Friday 09:00-21:00 and Saturday 09:00-18:00 (larger shops stay on until 20:00). The euro is used everywhere, if you have another currency you can exchange it at an exchange bureau or at a bank. Major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted.

Weather

In the beginning of March, the weather in Thessaloniki is usually sunny although in general still a bit cold, as the temperature varies between 3 ºC and 14ο C. Rainfall is generally between 35mm to 45 mm and falls in light showers. Strong and chilly winds can also be expected, so make sure you pack some warm clothes!

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