A city that is never boring

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, a combination of old and new, western Jerusalem, with the most beautiful promenade…

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Ever since its establishment, many Empires laid clame to it: Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman Empire, there was at one time a significant Jewish community that also left its influence.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Thessaloniki is also one of the first cities to receive Christianity. Thessaloniki is a mixture of everything, but it is complemented by youth energy, as the second university center in the country.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Here,  the wind from the northwest, which the Greeks call vardaris, mixes with the freshness of the sea.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Thessaloniki has been counting its years from 316 b.c when it was founded by Kassandar.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The city either got its name from Kassandar’s wife, the half sister of Alexander of Macedonia, Tesalonica, or possibly, from the victory over Tesaliah.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

It’s not difficult to orient oneself in Thessaloniki because the main streets are parallel to the coast. This planning was accompanied by a fire that almost destroyed Solun. The recovery of the city lasted a long time but the worke was done very prudently. During construction, it was decided that they won’t raise skyscraper in Thessaloniki for two reasons:

  • In case of an earthquake
  • So that the spectacular view of the sea from all parts of the city isn’t spoiled

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Solun was then re-designed by renowned French architect Ernst Hebrard. He was also an archaeologist and thanks to him, all of the excavations that have spread all over Thessaloniki have been preserved.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The protector of Thessaloniki is Saint Dimitri and to him is dedicated the most important church in Thessaloniki.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Solun is too big to be circled in a short time. That’s why it is necessary to start with some of the routes (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish), otherwise everything will mix, like the wind i mentioned in the beginning of this story.

In the Roman rout, you would hear the story of Emperor Galerius, as well as the excavated Roman brothel, and about some of the objects that the Romans brought to the temples so that the gods would bless them with heeling powers. Yet for all of this stories, Thessaloniki is still a port city.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

On the Byzantium routh, you would hear the story of King Theodosius who implemented democracy in the following way. His subjects were very dissatisfied with the introduction of taxes that were supposed to cover the war expenses of their emperor. Commander of the Guard arrested the leader of the protest.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The disgruntled commoners killed the commander, so the king, as he could not find the culprit, called on his subjects to come and watch the games, to have fun and unwind. It is not known how many people came to the games, but it is known that 7,000 people were killed under Theodosius command.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The Ottoman rout also has its own charm, from its characteristic architecture, alleys and cafes, to the home of Kemal Ataturk, the father of the Turkish nation. In the yard there is still a pomegranate tree planted by Ataturk’s father.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

This mix of many cultures resulted in the churches in Thessaloniki having a distinctive appearance. They look a bit like mosques and a bit like normal churches.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Don’t get me started about cakes, hammams, teas and other Turkish delicacies.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The Jewish tour will tell us that here lived about 120000 Spanish Jews, the Sefardi, for which Thessaloniki was then called the Jerusalem of the Balkans. After World War II, only 15,000 remained. The city center museum offers a better insight into the Jews who lived here.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Thessalon also has three main viewpoints.  I can climb some of them and some I can’t.

The white or “bloody tower” a former casamat, the point where all walks are starting or ending, is unavailable to me, but I recommend it.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The 360 degree view is spectacular.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

OTE tower, whose dome turns 360 degrees in 1 hour. It is disabled friendly, but when I arrived there was a fair, so I couldn’t get in. The food and drinks on the tower are very expensive but the view is free.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

At Aristotle’s square is the glittering hotel Elektra Palce, where they say you can have coffee, even though you are not a guest of hotel. When the weather is fair, it is said that Mount Olympus can be seen from the top.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

There is also a monument to the most important person of Solun, Aristotle. The legend says you should rub his thumb in order to gain wisdom…

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Thessaloniki also has a place of special importance for Serbians, which is the Zeitinlik cemetery about whom I wrote here.

I personally  wouldn’t go farther then the promenade, which was flat, straight,long and most importantly accessible.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The best thing, in my opinion, is to bring food and eat it on one of the benches.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Now what to eat?

Like all the locals, I would like to start my day with a famous bugaca that is topped by coffee or chocolate milk. Only the homemade bugaca is the real one. It came with the refugees from little Asia, at first it was empty pie with thin layers dough, and then they began to be filled with sweet cream, meat, and chocolate. Only the real bugaca has 12 sheets of dough atop and 12 sheets down while the sweet filling is between them. A bugaca with cinnamon and powdered sugar is a good way to start the day. You will find the best bugace only in the stores that serve only it and nothing else, the best stores only work until 12h because the main chef always goes home at that time. In Athens, all bugaca are sweet, all the rest are pies.

Then I would have to look at the local market. In this case, the Kapani market (the Turkish word for flour) is where you can best get the feel of the city.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

With the accumulated delicacies that Solun is proud of, I begin my conquest of this great city.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

The locals finish their days with a kind of stew called Patsas. I mean, the offers are great, but if you  want to know what the real local cuisine of Solun is, it’s some sort of Greek stew, made from pork legs and intestines, served after a lot of cooking.You can also  add mashed onion, lemon or powdered pepper.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

It is full of collagen and serves to rejuvenate after a long night of partying. It was once a food for the poor, and it came from Melanos Zoumo (black soup), which was eaten in ancient Sparta. It has been used to give energy but not to burden the Spartans that went to battle. Today it is eaten to cure hangovers after a long nigh of fun.

Luckily,  I did not drink anything alcoholic since I didn’t want to leave the beautiful promenade, so this time I was devoted to junk food and it was not bad.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

And finally, though Thessaloniki has a PHENOMENAL pastries selection, I came to try the trigonas (trigonas panoromatis), a crunchy triangle filled with cream, the trademark of Thessaloniki.

Greece Thessaloniki Travel

Solun has lowered curbs, but it can also negatively surprise you like every big city, which won’t prevent me from coming back.

 

Did I miss anything?

What do you think about Thessaloniki?

 

Traveled and enjoyed,

Marko Veličković

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