With a refreshed look thanks to its redeveloped seaside and with its once-crisis-hit traditional corners revitalized, Thessaloniki is experiencing a second youth, which it invites us to discover again and again! The youthful heart of the city beats at Ladadika nightclubs and the stylish new cafes, and Valaoritou’s wine bars, Tsimiski, Metropolis and Proksenou Koromila dress up everyday in well-rounded shiny showcases, while new gourmet tavernas show up from Navarinou all the way to Bit Pazar, offering the Greek answer to abroad gastropubs. At the same time, the Ano Poli and the White Tower remain beacons of the city’s history and landmarks of its modern face, with major commercial and cultural events such as the International Book Fair, the International Film Festival, the Thessaloniki International Exhibition and the Reworks Music Festival giving life to the city all year round.
Maybe Europe’s largest fully redeveloped beachfront, within three and a half kilometers of one of Greece’s most romantic promenades, Thessaloniki’s Nea Paralia offers endless opportunities for sports and relaxation, with open tennis courts, volleyball, basketball and mini soccer courts, all open to the public, while younger visitors are mesmerized by the many themed gardens (seasons, water, sound, roses, music, etc.) while the romantic couples are attracted by George Zongolopoulos’ famous sculpture: “Umbrellas”.
Another Thessaloniki is discovered behind the walls of Ano Poli – or Castles, as the area is also called – which survived the great fire of 1917. Traditional houses and narrow cobbled streets lead to picturesque squares, beautiful fountains and famous taverns, with important monuments such as the Trigoniou Tower with panoramic city views, or Yedi Kule with its rich history being an important defensive fort and then a prison, all being iconic city landmarks.
A typical landmark of the city, with its unique memorable circular shape, was built in 306 AD. as the Mausoleum of the Galerius – Roman emperor who had chosen Thessaloniki as the administrative capital of his territory during the Roman Empire. One of the few of its kind, it was built to the standards of the Rome Pantheon and in recent years has opened its gates as a venue for hosting periodically exhibitions and events.
Church of St. Dimitrios
The most important church in the consciousness of Thessaloniki residents, as it houses the martyrdom site of the city’s patron saint during the Roman era, at the bottom of it has a crypt and a space that serves as a museum of Early Christian and Byzantine sculptures, as well as other important excavation findings.
With over half a century history, the Panorama Triangles have become such a distinctive part of the city’s identity that they could almost replace the White Tower itself – and with the disarming combination of soft savory cream in their crisp, syrupy conical phyllo, many would not disagree if this would indeed be the case.
One can find it all over Greece, but when you snack on it in the city it was established, the experience earns a few extra points of pleasure. Of course, the recipe arrived in the city with the first refugees from Asia Minor, but it has been embraced by the city’s collective gastronomic subconsciousness with such zeal that it has now become a Thessaloniki true born – and one of its most nutritious snacks.
Originating from Constantinople, Bougatsa arrived in Thessaloniki via Serres, when craftsmen from the neighboring town brought the recipe along with their customs and habits. Within a few years, Thessaloniki was full of bougatsa corners, which have now become the city’s traditional breakfast shops, serving crunchy, thin phyllo, with fillings ranging from cheese or cream to minced meat and spinach, or plain phyllo with thick sugar.
Useful phone numbers
Tourist Police: 2310554871
Radio Taxi: 2310550500
General Hospital: 2310963100