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Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, named after Alexander the Great’s sister, is one of the most ancient and glorious regions in Greece. It has been a central channel for trade, between Greece, Byzantium and Roman Empire, popular for its wealth and it commercial value. oday, it is called “co-capital”, honoring its past, since it has been a sister city to Constantinople, with plenty of museums and some of the best universities in the world.

Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, named after Alexander the Great’s sister, is one of the most ancient and glorious regions in Greece. It has been a central channel for trade, between Greece, Byzantium and Roman Empire, popular for its wealth and it commercial value. oday, it is called “co-capital”, honoring its past, since it has been a sister city to Constantinople, with plenty of museums and some of the best universities in the world.

Thessaloniki: the city of victory, glory, and evolution.

Thessaloniki is one of the oldest cities in Greece. It was founded by the ancient king Cassander of Macedon about 2,500 years ago and its name comes after Cassander’s wife, Thessalonike, who was daughter of king Phillip II the Macedonian and Alexander the Great’s sister. The etymology of the word comes from the words Thessalos (from the region Thessalia) and Nike, (which stands for victory in Greek) and it honors the victory of the Macedonians at the battle of Crocus Field. Nowadays, the city is also pronounced as Συμπρωτεύουσα (literally meaning co-capital city), praising the city’s past, as Thessaloniki used to be called as Συμβασιλλεύουσα at the times of the Byzantine Empire’s glory (Συμβασιλλεύουσα literally means co-reigning city)
It is a city of the classical era of ancient Greece (480 b.c – 323 b.c) and it has been a cultural metropolis for centuries. It became the capital city of the Roman province of Macedonia, and it was one of the most important trade centers of the ancient Eastern World, connecting Byzantium with Greece and the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages Thessaloniki confirmed to be the second glorious city after Constantinople., for its population, its size and its wealth. Ever since, there have been several ferments in the city, including its passing to the Ottoman Empire & its renaming into Kingdom of Thessaloniki. During that period, the city kept being a trading hub and a multicultural center, hosting thousands of Orthodox and Muslims inhabitants. The following years, and after the victorious Greek War of Independence, Thessaloniki – among the rest of the Greek cities – started evolving both culturally and financially. The Oriental Railway passed through Thessaloniki in 1888 and connected the city to the Central Europe. Electricity illuminated Thessaloniki and art trends advanced the city’s reputation even more ever since.

An important reference point of education and contemporary art.

Thessaloniki has a huge history, both in culture and in arts. And certainly, the bold White Tower is not the only architectural achievement. The architecture in the city is a unique result of its historical evolvement and its cultural location. Through the ages, many traders, refugees and officials have settled in Thessaloniki, emerging the necessity for public, commercial and commanding buildings construction. Radically, the city was keep developing with the erection of banks, factories, artisanships, hotels, theaters and other cultural buildings. Famous and tremendous architects of the previous century visited the city and designed some very notable buildings. Some of those architects were Ziller, Rubens, Poselli and Xenophon Paionidis, and the main styles used were Art Nouveau, Neobaroque and Eclecticism, adding prestigious elegance and classic value to the city. In 1917 Thessaloniki suffered the Great Fire, destroying the biggest part of the city. It was then when a group of architects from all over the world gathered and created a “constructive map” for the rebuilding of the city, a huge kind of a blueprint. Some of the most important parts of the city are Ano Poli, Ladadika, Dimokratias square, Rotonda, Agia Sophia, Diagonios and of course Aristotelous Square.
The artistic background of the city is multileveled and various. Thessaloniki hosts many museums, including the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, awarded with the Council of Europe prize, the War Museum, and the Historical Museum of the Balkan Wars. There are also significant archaeological sites in Thessaloniki, advancing the city’s historical value. Some of these sites are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. The imperial palace complex of emperor Galerius, the Arch of Galerius (Kamara) complete the historical frame and indicate the significance of the city, proving Thessaloniki as a capital city of the Roman Empire ages.
Some of the most famous international artistic events also take place here. The Thessaloniki International Fair is the most significant one, happening in the city for almost a century now and attracting art lovers and officials for all over the world. The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is also a very important cultural event, one of the most important film festivals in Europe.
The street art is another piece of the precious artistic puzzle of the city. Art photographers have indicated Thessaloniki as one of the most attractive places for street photography in the world, with all its unique and natural architecture that combines the elegance of the traditions with the evolution of the present & the tremendous graffities, made by some of the most famous graffiti artists globally. Many young artists nowadays, inspired by diverse beauty of Thessaloniki, now enjoy international fame, promoting the city’s uniqueness to every corner of the world.
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