Foundation of the City

Early Christian and Byzantine Monuments

The broader of Thessaloniki

Arts and Culture




Foundation of the City

Due to the importance of the Thermaikos Gulf and its residential advantages, numerous settlements developed around it, starting in the Neolithic Era and the Bronze Age.

Thessaloniki was founded as an urban centre by Cassander, a general of Philip II, in 316 BC and named her with the name of the sister of Alexander the Great.

This action was part of the residential policy of Alexander the Great’s successors, aiming at the creation of powerful cities at key locations to ensure communication between the state of Macedon and the rest of the world. An organised port in Thessaloniki was necessary due to the rapid increase in commerce and communication with distant lands.

The administrative organisation of the city during the Hellenistic era followed the model employed in other Greek cities.

Back to top

Early Christian and Byzantine Monuments

The historical profile of Thessaloniki, which began in the Hellenistic era and has continued uninterrupted to the present day, is mainly linked to its Byzantine life. The walled city and its monuments can reasonably be called an open Byzantine Museum. All city monuments, Byzantine, Post-Byzantine and Ottoman – have been declared as historical landmark monuments. Fifteen (15) of the Early Christian-Byzantine monuments were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

A strong fortification wall, trapezoid in shape, with alternating triangular redans and square towers, as well as a rampart surrounds the city. Its construction, which incorporated remnants from the previous Hellenistic and Roman fortifications, dates back to the late 4th century.

Every neighbourhood features one of its Byzantine or Post-Byzantine monuments, remnants of a bygone era, when the city was the Symvassilevousa (co-reigning city) of a sometime mighty and sometime declining Byzantine Empire or, later on, the centre of the Ottoman-occupied Balkan peninsula.

The Byzantine metropolis has preserved a large number of its devotional monuments. The only exception, that is secular architecture, is the small Byzantine baths that are preserved in the densely populated urban web on the edge of the Ano Poli (Upper City). The churches of the city follow the variety of architectural styles of Byzantine architecture. From the dominant style of the Early Christian basilica, a five-aisled basilica with a transept, we pass to the transitional domed church of the early Byzantine period, and then to the 'hidden brick' technique and belonging to the cross-in-square style of the Middle-Byzantine era, and we end with the cross-in-square churches with a ambulatory of the Late Byzantine era.

Back to top

The broader of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is surrounded by extraordinary landscapes and locations that can inspire every visitor with their natural beauty.

The north part of the city is covered by woods on the hill slopes, while in the district of Polichni in the North-East, there are six watermills still standing since Byzantine times, reflecting pre-industrial technology. Further on in the same direction, Mount Chortiatis is a wonderful destination for a day outdoors. In the southern part of the city, there is the organized marina of Aretsou, a convenient and pleasant mooring spot for recreational craft, an ideal starting point for a trip to Halkidiki or the quaint islands of the Vories Sporades. Thermaikos Gulf and the picturesque beaches of Perea, Nei Epivates and Agia Triada, are the traditional privileged resorts for holiday- makers from Greece and abroad, as they are easily accessible by road along the gulf coastline, forming indeed two green zones for the city.

In the South-East, along the gulf, stands Mt. Olympus in its divine grandeur, home of the ancient deities, with its unique flora. According to Homer, on the peak of Mt. Olympus stood Zeus’ palace, the roof of which (the sky dome) was made of copper and stretched over the whole of the earth.

At the feet of Mt. Olympus, in the city of Dion, the Macedonians erected their temples to worship their gods. Archaeological excavations unearthed Zeus’ temple, part of the old city, the baths, its theatres, etc. A visit to the site can be combined with a relaxing excursion to the white, sandy beaches of Pieria or to other beautiful destinations nearby.

Pella, the ancient capital of the Macedonian state, where Alexander the Great was born and reigned, is another archaeological – and not only – site. The ruins of Alexander the Great’s palace are there, within which one can admire exquisite mosaics of great historical significance.

Vergina, an ancient city of world acclaim due to its famous royal tombs of the 4th century B.C. and its model archaeological museum, is a site where one can admire, next to the remains of King Philip II, precious exhibits reflecting the wealth, grandeur and glory of the Macedonian Kingdom.

To the South-East of Thessaloniki lies Halkidiki, a charming peninsula ending in three fingers, famous for its wonderful beaches, tiny islands and small bays. Visitors can find almost everything they desire there. Of special interest is the prehistoric cave of Petralona, replete with stalagmites and stalactites, where the fossilized skull of Archanthropus, dating to 200,000 B.C., was found. Furthermore, one can visit archaeological sites at Olynthos, Potidea, Stagira and Toroni, or any of the local villages. Nightlife in the big resorts is particularly inviting.

An opportunity open only to male visitors is an excursion to the third finger of Halkidiki Peninsula, which for more than a thousand years, has been the territory of the Greek Monastic State of “Mt. Athos”, the residence of monks of various orders. This is a unique land containing invaluable items and treasures of incalculable historical value. There is no doubt that despite its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Halkidiki can well provide moments of incomparable relaxation.

Back to top

Arts and Culture

Thessaloniki itself never doubted its own cultural identity and its millennia of existence, it stands there since 315BC. No wonder it was chosen as the co-reigning city of the Byzantine Empire alongside Constantinople – to prove just that there are several Paleochristian monuments, constituting a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Historically one of Europe’s oldest and most multiethnic cities, Thessaloniki is home to architectural marvels that testify to its centrality in Byzantine, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish history. The city is anchored by Aristotelous Square, where curved, columned facades open to the waterfront in one direction and frame views of the historic Ano Poli (Upper City) in the other.

Though it has only about one million people, compared with Athens’s five million, Salonika is widely considered the cultural capital of Greece. Festivals abound, most notably the International Film Festival and the Dimitria Festival which draw hoards of buffs to the city each October and November. It has also produced many of the country’s most acclaimed bands, visual artists and designers.
With a student-strong population of 150,000 (Aristotle University is the largest in the Balkans), Thessaloniki boasts an under-30s creative movement seen nowhere else in the recession-stricken home of ancient tragedy and democracy.

Exhibitions and Concerts can been installed and staged in known Byzantine, Ottoman and Jewish landmarks. Contemporary works that address the modern Mediterranean’s mesh of cultures can be found installed at Yeni Djami, a former mosque built for a community of converted Jews, at the Bey Hamam, an Ottoman-era bathhouse, in Alatza Imaret, a 15th-century Ottoman mosque and hospice once famed for its colorful minaret. 30 Museums extend to the metropolitan area, including the State Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses the Costakis Collection, one of the world’s best assemblages of Russian avant-garde art.

A wealth of Byzantine chapels, Ottoman architecture, crumbling synagogues, resonate at every turn. Miraculously, most of these monuments survived the fire that ravaged the city in 1917. Ano Poli, the Upper Town and old Turkish Quarter, is all that remains of 19th century 'Thessaloniki'.

Fancy Mansions of the 1st quarter of the 20th century can be seen at the eastern part of the city with unique architectural elements that forms a characteristic Architectural style, housing cultural centers and exhibition halls.

Many Cultural multi function spaces are not only run and manned by hip and trendy cutting-edge alternative artists, they are also creative nuclei for the city’s cultural scene.

Thessaloniki is truly unique in the sense that it intricately marries its thousands-year-old multicultural heritage with cutting-edge art performances and cinematic avant-garde.

Back to top


Greek gastronomy evolved on the basis of the season cycle and the geographical location of each region. Creativity and inventiveness ensured the use of every single morsel produced so that nothing is wasted. Various ingredients are combined wisely and artfully to produce tasty, balanced dishes.

Thessaloniki is a crossroads of flavors, a metropolis of tastes, a gastronomic capital, a city of pleasure. Various religions and customs have added to or subtracted from its ancient gastronomic features. Gastronomy, an indisputable cultural creation, includes a wealth of flavors and pleasures.

Nowhere else in Greece can one find so many different flavours combined on the same table. Thessaloniki residents pride themselves on their willingness to try unusual, strong flavors, which they learn to love and, finally, adopt. Thessaloniki is in the fortunate position of enjoying a rich marine environment from the shores of Thermaikos Gulf to Mt. Athos coastline and the Eastern Aegean islands. Fish and seafood are plentiful and accompanied by the creations of the vineyards of Northern Greece, including both wines and spirits.

The land of Macedonia covers the full range of its residents’ nutritional needs. No one can deny that the city has been influenced by its successive conquerors and the arrival of refugees of various origins. Byzantine flavors and techniques have been incorporated in the local cuisine, exuding a sweet hue, since the Byzantines adored a touch of “sugar” in their cooking. The coexistence of the Turkish, Jewish, French and Greek communities resulted in a multitude of dishes, since the city cuisine borrowed techniques, ideas, products and moods. The big refugee wave after 1922 added its own bold and rich gastronomical identity features. Therefore, the city cuisine could not but be influenced and developed, producing admittedly worthy results. However, it retained its traditional Greek profile. Its customs and products were the main factors that preserved its authenticity.

Gastronomy in the city never turned its back on olive oil, legumes, vegetables and meat however, it was based on its ability to combine the various foreign flavors, assimilate and improve them in an ideal manner.
The heritage of the Ottoman palaces and the traditions of Greek refugees from Asia Minor and Istanbul, as well as distant Pontus, are combined with gastronomical customs of the Balkan hinterland, fashioning the distinct gastronomic profile of the city. If anyone is to acquire even the slightest idea about Thessaloniki history, they have to get to know its flavors and bouquets. Thessaloniki is famous for its traditional cuisine, especially fish and seafood, cooked in manners that betray the origin of their various influences.

Carps, sardines, mussels, calamari and shrimps, along with salted fish, are sold in the city markets next to nuts of all sorts and dry fruit, prunes and tachini halva with cocoa and almonds. Pedestrian precincts in the district of the old oil market (Ladadika), the Krini seafront district and Modiano and kapani markets are full of ouzeries and tavernas, each one serving their own specialties within their unique atmosphere. Sardines cooked on charcoal, stuffed calamari, mussels in a piquant sauce, mussels pilaf or mandi. All sorts of meatballs, salads with sesame and pomegranate, stuffed vegetable dishes such as "lahanodolmades" and "Dolmadakia yalantzi", using pinecone nuts, sultanas and raisins and splashes of mint, dill, parsley and onion. Quinces, cinnamon, cloves and spice are mixed into sweet and savory creations.

Thessaloniki is the only city in Greece where soup prevails. Trahanas and Patsas are on the top of the soups' list. Special soup and pig trotter soup restaurants, which first appeared when the refugees arrived in 1922 from Asia Minor, have been serving patsas, a special, unusual soup to – mainly – the male population of the city.

There are two more facets that make the city famous in the field of gastronomy. Its pastry shops (Bougatsatzidika) and its patisseries.
Bougatsa is made with a special pastry filled with cheese, mince, sweet cream sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, or even served plain. Trigona, a crunchy phyllo triangle, bending with the taste of syrup and cream is a regional speciality. Patisseries, on the other hand, offer a wide range of European, oriental and Greek sweets. Sesame bread rings are sold on street corners and saloop in winter, while red hot pepper seeds (boukovo) pervades the city.
Recently, next to the city cuisine, other modern trends emerge, such as Italian, French, Spanish, Mexican, Mid-Eastern and Chinese cuisines, which have arrived to enhance the cosmopolitan character of the city’s gastronomy.

Back to top

Abstract Book

abstract book banner

At a glance

Title: 17th Hellenic Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry
When: June 1-3, 2017
Where: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Venue: Amphitheater II Research Dissemination Center
Hellenic Society of Medicinal Chemistry
12508884 740233699442936 7554667545881841084 n
School of Pharmacy, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Sponsored by EFMC
01 EFMC col low tcm18 175659
17th Hellenic Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (HSMC-17) 01.06.2017 09:00




GLNaε cyk


Media Sponsors


 iatrikanea logo medlabnews  IATRIKES EXELIXEIS LOGO a 001 
 medical societies Logo