Thessaloniki City Center

The area near the sea is the city center of modern Thessaloniki. There are plenty of interesting things to find, including ancient ruins, Byzantine churches, post-Byzantine churches, and Ottoman buildings, but this post will focus on a few of the other places to visit.

The most obvious place to start is to walk on the seaside promenade along Leoforos Nikis. This avenue runs from Plateia Eleftherias south to Lefkos Pyrgos. Along it are several cafés, bars, and restaurants.

Leoforos Nikis in Thessaloniki, Greece

Leoforos Nikis

Leoforos Nikis looking towards Lefkos Pyrgos in Thessaloniki, Greece

Leoforos Nikis looking towards Lefkos Pyrgos

A café along Leoforos Nikis in Thessaloniki, Greece

A café along Leoforos Nikis

The main square of Thessaloniki is Plateia Aristotelous. It’s a wide open area flanked by regal buildings with many with outdoor cafes on the ground level. The square was designed by French architect Ernest Hébrard after a terrible fire in 1917 that leveled a significant portion of the city, but wasn’t constructed until the 1950s. It’s especially nice around Christmas time.

Plateia Aristotelous in Thessaloniki, Greece

Plateia Aristotelous

Plateia Aristotelous at Christmas in Thessaloniki, Greece

Plateia Aristotelous at Christmas

A pedestrian street called Aristotelous leads away from the square and is lined with more regal buildings. It ends at Egnatia.

Aristotelous in Thessaloniki, Greece

Aristotelous

Aristotelous in Thessaloniki, Greece

Aristotelous

Across Egnatia from Aristotelous is Plateia Dikastirion, where it’s possible to find the Roman Forum, a Byzantine church, and an Ottoman hamam. There’s also a statue dedicated to Eleftherios Venizelos, an important Greek leader in the early 20th century.

Eleftherios Venizelos statue in Thessaloniki, Greece

Eleftherios Venizelos statue

Crossing Aristotelous a block from Plateia Aristotelous is Odos Tsimiski. This tree-lined street is one of the busiest in Thessaloniki and features several high-end shops.

Odos Tsimiski in Thessaloniki, Greece

Odos Tsimiski

Odos Tsimiski in Thessaloniki, Greece

Odos Tsimiski

Another important square Plateia Agias Sofias. The Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia is located there along with the Longos Mansion (The Red House) and a statue of Chrysostomos of Smyrna. The Longos Manson was built in 1926 for a textile baron from Naousa and is said to be cursed. Chrysostomos was the bishop of Smyrna and was murdered by a mob when the city was sacked by Turkish forces in 1922.

Longos Mansion in Thessaloniki, Greece

Longos Mansion

Statue of Chrysostomos of Smyrna in Thessaloniki, Greece

Statue of Chrysostomos of Smyrna

There are a lot of monuments and statues scattered throughout Thessaloniki, but one of my favorites is at Plateia Fanarioton. It depicts a Cretan warrior.

Cretan warrior at Plateia Fanarioton in Thessaloniki, Greece

Cretan warrior at Plateia Fanarioton

A great experience is to visit the markets of Thessaloniki, which date back to the 12th century. Kapani, or Agora Vlali, is the traditional market where several different goods can be found including clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and religious goods. It covers a huge area between the streets of Egnatia, Ermou, Venizelou, and Aristotelous.

Kapani (Agora Vlali) in Thessaloniki, Greece

Kapani (Agora Vlali)

Kapani (Agora Vlali) in Thessaloniki, Greece

Kapani (Agora Vlali)

Kapani (Agora Vlali) in Thessaloniki, Greece

Kapani (Agora Vlali)

Agora Vatikioti is where meat, fish, and produce can be found. The main strip of the market is down a covered Odos Vatikioti. It’s located on the other side of Aristotelous from Kapani.

Agora Vatikioti in Thessaloniki, Greece

Agora Vatikioti

Agora Vatikioti in Thessaloniki, Greece

Agora Vatikioti

 

On my three trips to the city, I decided to focus on the archaeological sites, churches, and Ottoman monuments, but there are several museums of note. Among them are the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle, the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, and the Archaeological Museum. I would like to visit all of them on a future trip.

Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki, Greece

Museum of the Macedonian Struggle

Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki in Thessaloniki, Greece

Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki

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