Thessaloniki, Greece’s co-capital

Saturday, 8 August 2015 - 05:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

White Tower © MaurusNR

White Tower © MaurusNR

Thessaloniki, historically also known as Thessalonica or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the periphery of Central Macedonia as well as the de facto administrative capital of the Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace. Its honorific title is Συμπρωτεύουσα (Symprotévousa), literally “co-capital”, a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα (Symvasilévousa) or “co-reigning” city of the Byzantine Empire, alongside Constantinople. According to the 2001 census, the municipality of Thessaloniki had a population of 364,000, while its Urban Area had a population of 773,000. The Larger Urban Zone of Thessaloniki has an estimated 996,000 residents, while its area is 1,455.62 km² (562.02 sq mi). With a history of over 2,300 years, it is one of Europe’s oldest cities. Thessaloniki is Greece’s second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre, and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe; its commercial port is also of great importance for Greece and the southeastern European hinterland. The city is renowned for its events and festivals, the most famous of which include the annual International Trade Fair, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora.

Thessaloniki is considered northern Greece’s cultural and educational centre. It is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessalonika, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city’s main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and ranked among the best 250 universities in Europe. Thessaloniki was celebrated as the European Capital of Culture in 1997, when it sponsored events across the city and region. In 2004 the city hosted a number of the football (soccer) events as part of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Olympion Cinema © Zorba National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation © Tilemahos Efthimiadis Ministery of Macedonia and Thrace © Thpanagos Metropolitan Church of the Orthodox © Fingalo Mediterranean Cosmos Mall © JFKennedy Ladidaka neighbourhood © Ian Kehoe Bank of Greece © Ωριγένης Art Nouveau building © Elena Chochkova Macedonian Institute © LeaderGR Landmarks © Philly boy92 Downtown © Ant83 Aristotelous Square 360° © Gunnar Grimnes © MWD Thessaloniki Science Center & Technology Museum © NOESIS © Ian Kehoe Thessaloniki Panorama © Vangelis Skarmoutsos Thessaloniki Panorama © Salonica84 © Thessaloniki Olympic Museum Old Philosophical School - Aristotle University © Ωριγένης Concert Hall © Tilemahos Efthimiadis White Tower © MaurusNR
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National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation © Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Architecture in Thessaloniki is the direct result of the city’s position at the centre of all historical developments in the Balkans. Aside from its commercial importance, Thessaloniki was also for many centuries, the military and administrative hub of the region, and beyond this the transportation link between Europe and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel/Palestine). Merchants, traders and refugees from all over Europe settled in the city. The need for commercial and public buildings in this new era of prosperity led to the construction of large edifices in the city centre. During this time, the city saw the building of banks, large hotels, theatres, warehouses, and factories. The city layout changed after 1870, when the seaside fortifications gave way to extensive piers, and many of the oldest walls of the city were demolished, including those surrounding the White Tower. As parts of the early Byzantine walls were demolished, this allowed the city to expand east and west along the coast. The expansion of Eleftherias Square towards the sea completed the new commercial hub of the city and at the time was considered one of the most vibrant squares of the city. As the city grew, workers moved to the western districts, due to their proximity near factories and industrial activities; while the middle and upper classes gradually moved from the city-centre to the eastern suburbs, leaving mainly businesses. In 1917, a devastating fire swept through the city and burned uncontrollably for 32 hours. It destroyed the city’s historic centre and a large part of its architectural heritage, but paved way for many modern buildings and changed the city into a thriving European city centre.

Today the city center of Thessaloniki includes the features designed as part of the plan and forms the point in the city where most of the public buildings, historical sites, entertainment venues and stores are located. The centre is characterized by its many historical buildings, arcades, laneways and distinct architectural styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco which can be seen on many of its buildings.

Read more on City of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Tourismus, History of the Jews in Thessaloniki, Wikivoyage Thessaloniki and Wikipedia Thessaloniki. Learn more about the use of photos . To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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