Thessaloniki is built on the sea on Thermaikos gulf and on the hills surrounding the bay. It is the second largest city in Greece with a population of around 1.000.000. It dates back to 315BC and was named after the sister of Alexander the Great. The city has a very interesting Greco-roman and Byzantine history which can still be seen all around.
An interesting feature of Thessaloniki are the extensive excavation projects and monuments of the past, found all over in the city centre. Among them are the Palace, the Rotunda and the Arch of Galerius, a Roman Emperor of 4th century AD, who made the city a capital of one of the four sections of the Empire. Recent works for the construction of a metro system even brought to surface parts of Via Egnatia, the road constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, that used to connect Byzantium (now Istanbul) with Dyrrachium on the Adriatic sea.
As Thessaloniki flourished in the Byzantine era, becoming the second most important city after Constantinople, it was adorned with many important and beautifully decorated churches which are in use till now. Among them are St Demetrios, Acheiropoietos, Panagia Chalkeon, Aghia Sophia, St. David, Holy Apostles and many others. Thessaloniki also experienced many invasions and occupations by Avars, Slavs, Arabs, Latins and others in the course of the centuries. All these left their mark making Thessaloniki a multicultural, commercial city.
The city of today also hosts many museums. The most important of those are the Archeological, the Byzantine, the Ethnological museums and the White Tower, a trademark round tower built during the 15th century on the seafront that used to serve as prison, garrison and fort during the centuries.
In recent years Thessaloniki has expanded largely. It is a beautiful and safe city where the visitor can spend a few relaxing days exploring the many interesting sights and enjoying the loose ambience of the waterfront cafes and restaurants.