The main sights of Thessaloniki date from the Roman and Byzantine times, and include the Roman Arch of Galerius, the Monument of Rotonda, the Church of Saint Demetrius and the Medieval Castle. The symbol – and most important monument in Thessaloniki – is the White Tower, found at the famous Beach Promenade of the city. We present you a list of the city’s most significant monuments:

  • Castles

White Tower

The White Tower, standing along the beach promenade, is the symbol of Thessaloniki. Constructed in the 16th century by the Ottomans, it was used as a fortress, a prison, and a university workshop. Today it hosts a museum.

Heptapyrgion Castle

The Castle of Thessaloniki is also known as Yedi Kule or Heptapyrgion. This is a fortress from the Byzantine and the Ottoman era, standing just above the Old Town (Ano Poli). It has been used as the seat of the garrison commander until the late 19th century and as prison till 1989.

  • Ancient Sites

Arch of Galerius

Mostly known as Kamara, the Arch of Galerius was constructed in 305 AD to celebrate and commemorate the final victory of Roman general Galerius over the Persians. This victory is the main theme of the carved scenes on this arch, which was connected with the Palace of Galerius and the Rotonda. Today, Kamara is a popular passageway and meeting point in Thessaloniki.

Roman Market

The Roman Market, close to the city center, was in function for 8 entire centuries, from the foundation of the town in the 5th century BC till the early Byzantine times, in the 5th century AD. Remains of a theatre, a square, an arched street, a mint, and a marketplace have been unearthed, while excavations and restoration works are being continued today.

  • Monuments

Rotonda Monument

The Rotonda (or Rotunda) is an impressive circular building in the center of Thessaloniki. It was originally constructed by the Roman general Galerius around 300 AD and in the late 4th century AD, it was turned into a Christian church and was decorated with nice frescoes. When the town was conquered by the Ottomans, Rotonda was turned into a mosque. In the early 19th century it became a church again and then a sculpture museum.

Bey Hamam

Bey Hamam is an old Ottoman bathhouse located along Egnatia Street, next to the church of Panagia Halkeon. Its name means “the Baths of Paradise”. Originally built in 1444 by Sultan Murad II, this is among the most significant remains of the Ottoman occupation in Thessaloniki.

  • Churches

Church of Agios Dimitrios

The church of Agios Dimitrios(Saint Demetrius) is the most famous church in Thessaloniki. This is the patron saint of the town and its celebration on October 26th is a local holiday. This church dates back to the Byzantine Times and it was built on the exact location where Saint Demetrius martyred. In fact, the basement of the church is the place where the saint was tortured for his faith and died.

Church of Agia Sofia

Located in the city center, this is among the most important churches of Thessaloniki. It is not known where exactly the church of Saint Sofia was originally built. The most possible is that it was constructed after the Church of Saint Sofia in Constantinople, as they have many similarities in the architectural style. Some actually believe that the two churches were built by the same architect, Anthemios.

Church of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos

Located in Ano Poli, this small church is one of the oldest in Thessaloniki. It was built in the 14th century and contains valuable frescoes from the Byzantine times.

Church of Panagia Halkeon

On the southwest of the archaeological site of Roman Agora, there is the Byzantine church of Panagia Chalkeon. Its name means “Virgin Mary of Cooper Workers” in Greek, as there were cooper workshops living in the area.

Monastery of Vlatadon

Located in Ano Poli, this is the only monastery that works in the town of Thessaloniki. Constructed in the 14th century and dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Christ, only the katholicon (main church) survives today.

Church of the Holy Apostles

This beautiful 14th-century Byzantine church was designed on a cruciform ground plan, with five domes and elaborately patterned brickwork.

Church of Panagia Acheropoietos

This name of this church actually means the “Virgin Mary Not Made by Human Hands” in Greek. It is one of the most important paleo-Christian monuments in Thessaloniki and one of the oldest churches in Greece. The construction of the church started in the 5th century AD on the remains of a Roman bath. Along with its history, though, it has been reconstructed many times.

The Metropolitan Church of Saint Gregorios Palamas

This is the Metropolitan Church of Thessaloniki and it is dedicated to Saint Gregory Palamas, an Archbishop of the town who lived in the 13th century and who is considered as one of the most important saints of the Orthodox Church. The church has a red round dome and it is located in Agias Sofias square. It celebrates twice a year: on November 14th, the day of the saint’s death, and on the second Sunday of the Lent.

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