White Tower in Thesaloniki

Biała Wieża (White Tower) Biała Wieża (White Tower) Creative Common BY-SA

Greece equals a delicious wine, pita and azure sea. Greece equals friendly people, lively music and skin glided with the sun. Greece equals wonderful views of the smooth surface of water and sharp peaks of hills covered with olive groves. The soul of Greece is Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki is a very old city, distinguished by the size – it’s the second in these terms, ranking just behind Athens. It’s located in northern Greece in the Thermaic Gulf. Of all the Greek towns and resorts, this one is characterized by completely unique climate - not only as an immensely resort beautiful, but also as the cradle of Christianity. It’s a place of birth of Cyril and Methodius, patrons of Europe, who brought faith on the Slavic lands. Here the famous orator Cicero protected against persecution. Finally, here was created one of the first Christian communities, established by St. Paul.

The sights were included on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Visitors to Thessaloniki can admire the beautiful old frescoes and mosaics located in the early Christian churches. The most famous religious buildings include the temple of chapel, which houses the relics of the patron of Macedonia (region) and the city - Saint Demetrius. It’s Basilica of Agios Dimitrios, the largest church in the whole Greece. In its interior there’s a marble tombstone of the patron.

White Tower, Bloody Tower

A characteristic point, even a symbol of Thessaloniki is a slender White Tower. It stands on the waterfront, on the eastern edge of the city center. Once it constituted a part of the fortifications, today it houses the Museum of Byzantine Culture. In the past, people were imprisoned in it, hence the second, darker name - the Bloody Tower. From its top you can admire a splendid view of the city and the statue of Alexander the Great standing near it.

Another place associated with Thessaloniki is the Arch of Galerius (Kamara), dating back to the third century. To these days only two of four pillars supporting it have survived. In the past it constituted the whole along with the rotunda, the oldest monument in the city, and with the palace complex and hippodrome (chariot racetrack). The aforementioned rotunda was probably a temple in honor of Zeus, later it was renamed to church, but there was also an episode when it was a mosque.

When writing about Thessaloniki, you cannot forget about the indoor Turkish bazaar from sixteenth century, enjoying a reputation of the most beautiful building of this kind in the entire Balkans. It’s preserved in excellent condition, and today brings together a large number of jewelery plants, boutiques and various shops.

It’s worth paying attention to the charming cottages with porches that can be found in the district of Ano Poli. You can also take a short walk to the neighborhood of Eptapirgio, spread over the top of the hill, and see huge fortifications. The sights that you should see when visiting Thessaloniki, also includes a copy of the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople dating back to the eighth century.

Where to stay in Thessaloniki?

Near Thessaloniki, right on the long sandy beach, there’s a campsite and hotel "Akti Retzika". Surrounded by greenery, away from the city bustle, offers apartments and the position on the campsite. Guests have at their disposal 60 places for motorhomes, vehicles with caravans or tents. Nightly accommodation for an adult costs from 3 to 6 euros, while renting a tent or caravan - from 5 to 6 euros per day. Thanks to this location, tourists have a wonderful opportunity to admire Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea shortly after waking.

While exploring the city, it’s worth to try the local wine. Especially good is white wine Cambas and Macedonian Domaine Carros. While tasting the drink, you can sit in a cafe and listen to the quiet murmur of the city, coming from the winding streets.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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