There are many interesting places to see… related to long history before and after Byzantine civilization. We took a bus tour (number 50), which has a tour guide, audio/visual in Greek and English and a city map provided. The entire route took about 1 hour. The bus passed some landmarks in the city and went up north through the hills, where we could see a panoramic view of Thessaloniki. It was a nice tour. You could get off any stop you like to explore the area on foot and wait for the next bus.
Here are some landmarks of the city, Thessaloniki.
Rotunda (Rotonda) – The monument was built by Galerius Ceasar in ca. 300 A.D. This is the oldest structure still in use in the city. Initially it was a place to worship the mysterious Samothracian Kabirii or Zeus. It is well known for its mosaic decoration, one of the best samples of early Christian art. Later the city fell to the Ottomans, in 1590 it was converted into a mosque. In 1912, it has been restored into a Christian Church. It is definitely one the most important surviving examples of a church from the early Christian period of the Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire.
Rotunda (Rotonda) - Thessaloniki, Greece
Arch of Galerious – on Egnatia & Dimitrios Gounari Street. The arch was built in 298 to 299 CE and dedicated in 303 CE to celebrate the victory of Galerius over the Sassanid Persians and capture of their capital Ctesiphon. The structure was an octopylon or eight-pillared gateway. At present days, only the northwestern three of the eight pillars and parts of the cores survive. There are details on the pillar telling the story of Galerious and the celebration of his victory.
Arch of Galerious - Thessaloniki, Greece
Details on the pillars of Arch Galerious
Agia Sophia – is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The church, Agia Sophia, was built in 8th century. It was once converted to a mosque in 1430, when the Ottoman Sultan Murad II captured the city. Later it was brought back into Greek Orthodox Church. In 1917, many interior parts were destroyed by the Great Fire in Thessaloniki. There were many restoration works done to repair the structure. It is one of the most visited places in the city, situated right at the heart of busiest street of Thessaloniki.
Church of Agia Sophia - Thessaloniki, Greece
Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki – there are many invaluable archaeological treasures from the Prehistoric, Classic, Hellenistic and Roman eras and wider region of Macedonia.
Sign inside Archaeological Museum - Thessaloniki, Greece
Pillars and Statues inside Archaeological Museum - Thessaloniki
Museum of Byzantine Culture – it is situated at the junction of 3rd September St and Stratou Ave. There is an exhibition of historical and religious relics as well as objects from the Early Christian, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Eras.
Paintings from Early Christian Era - Museum of Byzantine Culture
Elenidis – We had “Trigona” at Elenidis pastry shop as our afternoon snack. It is a sugar coated cone filled with sweet and tasty cream, very delicious. One piece was enough to restore our energy of the day ^.^
Elenidis - a pastry shop at the junction of D Gounari & Tsimiski St
Trigona - Greek dessert, a sweet cone filled with tasty cream
Zythos Restaurant – we went for a Greek dining place — very traditional and charming location. The food is wonderful. It is on the Ladadika district — where there are many nice bars and restaurants. From time to time, we would hear Greek tradition music on the street. The ambience and atmosphere were wonderful. It is perfect for our romantic dinner.
Zythos - a restaurant in Ladadika area
Greek Salad - so refreshing, so good!
Pilaf Rice - Greek style (very tasty!)
It was such a nice and long day… but we had a lot of fun sightseeing around the city — love it!