Thessaloniki / Saloniki / Salonika:
The famous capital of Macedonia pulses with various interesting elements, such as archaeological and historical monuments, amazing natural sights and settlements, hospitable inhabitants with a unique mentality and lifestyle that will definitely impress you.
Thessaloniki Holidays - Greece
All over the prefecture, apart from the renowned city of Thessaloniki, you will also find numerous superb resorts. Panorama, skirmished on the slopes of the mountain Hortiatis, is an incredible settlement with beautiful villas, lush verdure, and unique view. Perea, a coastal summer resort; Stavros, a coastal idyllic village with sycamore trees, running waters and amazing view; Agia Triada, one of the most organized tourist resorts; and the much frequented coastal settlement of Asprovalta are just a few of the many ideal destinations for your holidays. Thessaloniki, one of the most gifted prefectures of Greece, is definitely worth a visit.
Thessaloniki - history
The area covered by the present day Prefecture of Thessaloniki has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. After the founding of the City of Thessaloniki, this region's history has become identical to that of the city's, which has been especially rich, thereby attracting many conquerors and, at times, reaching enviable peaks of prosperity.
Thessaloniki was founded in 316 BC on the site of the old city of Thermi, which gave its name to the Thermaic Gulf. Kassandros, its founder, gave it the name of his consort, Thessaloniki, half-sister of Alexander the Great.
Thessaloniki, with its rapid development and growth due to its ideal geographical position, became the capital of the Macedonian state, thus taking leadership away from Pella. Pella, the birth city of Macedonian Kings, eventually fell into such obscurity that archaeologists are still uncertain of its actual position on the map.
Today the city is best known as a Byzantine city, due to the wealth of its art and architecture, remains from the centuries when Thessaloniki was second only to Constantinople.
Recent archaeological excavations at Derveni and Vergina (site of King Philip's tomb) have turned up such remarkable artefacts from the Macedonian period that we consider Thessaloniki most notable for its Archaeological Museum and nearby sites:
Vergina: The wealth of gold funerary objects discovered at Vergina has no limit to the appraisal of their value. The royal tomb and royal palace near the village of Vergina impart a thrilling impression to visitors, and their archaeological importance is second only to the Acropolis of Athens.
Dion: About 80 kilometers from Thessaloniki, at the foot of the magnificent Mount Olympus, is the village of Dion. Recent excavations have revealed that this was an important religious center for worship of the gods of the sacred mount. Much progress has been made with the excavations in recent years, filling the new museum with some very fine works of Art.
In history there are few persons who can be termed "Great", and even fewer who deserve to be so named. But Alexander, the son of Philippos, King of Macedonians, was truly great. He did not merely place his stamp on his era; rather, he has survived - he still "lives and reigns," according to popular belief. Alexander was a cultural reformer, not a military invader. He instituted a multinational state comprised of equally privileged individuals, for he was a liberator and not an enslaver. The peoples who became part of his empire were not considered minorities but retained their national identities.
The campaigns of Alexander the Great signaled some momentous events in world history that should be accessed in ways other than on celluloid from the back lots of Hollywood! On one hand, Europe was decidedly alleviated from the Asian threat, as the vast Persian superpower was dismantled forever. And on the other, the expansion and eventual domination of the Greek language as the international form of communication, with its concomitant knowledge, philosophy, art, and civilization, were extraordinary events of immense consequence for the future course of the entire world.
Nevertheless, anyone with even rudimentary historical knowledge is aware of what Macedonian Hellenism and its genuine representatives, Philip, Alexander, and Aristotle, symbolize and embody. In history and in thought, it is this golden civilization that is an inseparable segment of the grand Greek miracle.
Among the numerous monuments of particular interest in the city are those from the Roman period, the Triumphal Arch of Galerius and the Rotonda. The Byzantine period bequeathed to the city many churches, whose fine mosaics and wall paintings are representative of various periods of Byzantine art, and which significantly contribute to the city's image. They include St. Demetrius, Panagia Acheiropoietus, the Holy Apostles, St. Sophia, St. Catherine, Panagia Chalkeon, St. Nicholas the Orphan, the Prophet Elijah, and the Monastery of Vlatadon. Large sections of the city-walls still stand, together with one of their main bastions, the well-known White Tower. Noteworthy also, from a national, spiritual and artistic viewpoint, are the continuing strong links between the city of Thessaloniki and Mt. Athos, the, so-called among Christians, Sacred Mountain.