Thessaloniki Landmarks and Monuments
(Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, Greece)
There are a number of truly outstanding landmarks which grace the skyline of Thessaloniki and suggest is former grandeur and past. The landmarks and important monuments include the Palace of Galerius and its Rotunda, and the iconic White Tower, which is of great historical significance in Thessaloniki - and not even white!
There is a distinctive Byzantine character around the city, due in no small part to the ancient medieval walls around the Upper Town (Ano Poli), and the various Byzantine, of which Church of Aghios Demetrios stands out in particular. Other major landmarks worth a look in Thessaloniki are to be found at the acclaimed archaeological remains of the Roman Agora, which resides on the Plateia Dikastirion, across from the Egnatia, on the northern side of the Plateia Aristotelous.
Address: Lefkos Pyrgos, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
Tel: +30 2310 267 832
Perhaps the most famous of the city's landmarks and immediately recognisable, the White Tower of Thessaloniki was actually the location of a historic bloodbath. It was here in 1826 where the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II ordered the massacre of troops which he considered to be disloyal. In an attempt to obliterate the memory of this tragic event, the 'bloody tower' was completely whitewashed in 1913. However, today the white-wash has long gone, although the name remains. Attractions within the White Tower include the small Byzantine Museum, and a cafe boasting superb seafront vistas.
Open hours: Monday - 12:30 to 19:00, Tuesday to Sunday - 08:00 to 19:00
Palace, Arch and Tomb of Galerius / Rotunda (Mausoleum)
Address: Egnatia, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
Standing close to the Plateia Navarinou are three rather impressive monuments which relate directly to Galerius, a well-known Roman emperor from the 4th century. The remains of the Palace of Galerius quite literally sprawl their way across the square itself and several sections of columns and walls remain intact, along with some intricate floor mosaics. Close by is the Arch of Galerius, which was constructed more than 1,700 years ago to commemorate the emperor's important victories and features detailed stone carvings of soldiers fighting. On the northern side of the arch is the instantly recognisable Thessaloniki Rotunda, which stands on the Plateia Agiou and was originally built under the instruction of Galerius to serve as his mausoleum, although this was never actually the case. Step inside the gigantic rotunda to appreciate some very fine and well-preserved frescoes.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
OTE Tower / TV Tower
Address: Expo Centre, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
Something on a modern landmark in the city, the OTE Tower is immediately recognisable and very hard to miss, towering some 76 metres / 250 feet above the surrounding landscape. This television antenna is located within the grounds of the Thessaloniki Trade Fair. Built in 1966 and completely renovated in 2005, the OTE Tower is actually home to a very popular revolving restaurant, which is located part way up and offers diners some impressive, changing views of the city, as it slowly rotates around.
Open hours: daily
Ancient Roman Agora
Address: Plateia Dikastirion, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
The Roman Agora was established during the 3rd century BC and was once a lively group of shops and ancient buildings. There are some very interesting remains here, although it is difficult to imagine the scale and appearance of what once stood here, particularly with the contrasting backdrop of modern apartment blocks. However, there is a large board explaining the structure of the actual layout in English. Particular favourites at the Roman Agora include the sporadic floor mosaics and the shop walls, a number of which are still standing today.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 08:00 to 15:00
Church of Aghios Demetrios / Byzantine Churches
Address: Aghiou Dimitriou Street, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
One of the city's most important churches and religious Byzantine landmarks, the Church of Aghios Demetrios stands directly above the grave of the patron saint of Thessaloniki, St. Demetrios. The church is also built upon the remains of the Roman Forum and dates from the 5th century. Highlights within the Church of Aghios Demetrios include a total of three side chapels, along with some interesting underground catacombs and a museum with various relics and artefacts. Look out for the beautiful relief decorations, the fountain, pottery works from the 13th century, and the remains of the 'ciborium', where St. Demetrios was once imprisoned. On either side of the altar are no less than five, 8th-century mosaics. Other notable Byzantine churches and religious landmarks in Thessaloniki include the Church of the Panagia Ahiropiitos, the Church of Osios David, the 4th-century Church of Nikolaos Orfanos, and also the Monastery of Vlatadon.
Open hours: Monday - 12:30 to 19:00, Friday and Saturday - 08:00 to 20:00, Sunday - 10:30 to 20:00
Kyvernion (Little Palace)
Address: Karabournaki, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
The easterly Karabournaki area of Thessaloniki is home to a number of noteworthy sights and landmarks, of which the Little Palace (Kyvernion) stands out. Formerly the residence of the Greek royal family, the Kyvernion is also known as the Palataki or simply Government House. Over the years, not only did the Kind and Queen of Greece stay here many times, but also visiting Greek presidents and countless other important individuals.
Open hours: daily