Thessaloniki. The capital of Northern Greece knows how to enchant its visitors. The monuments of its long history combined with the vividness of the modern city and the people, create a unique atmosphere. Museums, theaters, art galleries, major cultural and sports events and a much promising nightlife make the city interesting every moment. The famous city shopping districts satisfy even the most demanding shoppers, while the distinct local cuisine flavors are definitely a temptation. Built in Thermaikos Bay, with excellent road links, Thessaloniki is an ideal basis for excursions in the area of northern and western Greece.
Established by the assignee of Alexander the Great, Cassander, who named the city after the daughter of King Philip II, Thessaloniki, a name derived from a victory over the Thessalians. Thessaloniki = Thessalia and niki (victory in Greek Language). It afterwards passed to the power of the Romans and became the administration center of the region. When the decision was made by Constantine the Great to transfer the capital to the east of the Empire , Thessaloniki was one of the candidate cities. The final selection of Byzantium, turned to be in favor of the city, since it was found at the crossroads of this vast empire and quickly became one of the major cities. Second most important city , “Co-capital” , it was called. The advent of the Ottomans helped further in shaping the image of a metropolitan city, with the addition of the largest in the world Jewish community. The continuous flourish of the city, led it eventually to be considered one of the most important cities of the Empire, and certainly the one most cosmopolitan.
Years of bloody struggle for freedom and independence finally led to the city’s liberation in 1912, in October 26th. . The city and the area of Macedonia joined the Greek State. The composition of the population changed dramatically with the Exchange of Populations and the arrival of thousands of refugees, especially after the Minor Asia Disaster. The great fire of 1917 devastated the city, but also contributed to the transformation of its architectural character, while the 1940-'44 triple occupation caused the vanishing of the flourishing Jewish community of the city.
After the war, the population grows and Thessaloniki enters a period of remarkable cultural, commercial, industrial and tourist development. It is now the second largest city of the country, seat of two universities, with a multitude of museums and cultural and sports centers. The city attracts the world's attention with numerous annual events, such as the Thessaloniki International Fair and the Film Festival.