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Adigonidon 13, Thessaloniki 546 30, Greece
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Visit Greece's Second Largest City, Thessaloniki

For many, Thessaloniki is a happy alternative to the chaos of Athens. Although it's home to just under 400,000 people, it's the second largest city in Greece. There's a large student population here, and so you'll find the city busy with cafes, pubs, clubs, and restaurants.

Of noteworthy mention is the iconic White Tower, built in the Byzantine period and still standing guard over the waterfront. There are a number of other Byzantine monuments around as well, including the churches of Acheiropoietos and the Heptapyrgion castle.

The Old Town is worth exploring as well, which has a classically Macedonian feel to it.

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AFAR Local Expert
over 7 years ago

Thessaloniki: Understanding the City of The White Tower

Any trip to Halkidiki in Greece should start in Thessonaliki. We it almost has to as the airport is nearby.

Take a walk along the sea front promenade to the Lefkos Pyrgos or the White Tower. Built in the late 15th century over a Byzantine tower by the Ottomans, it is here the eastern wall of the city and the seawall meet. Originally the White Tower was said to be red because of the executions that took place here of the prisoners it held. A prisoner was given the chance to paint it white to gain his freedom, so he took it.

Inside there is a well– curated museum. It starts at bottom level with the beginnings of the city showing the layers of dirt with houses built upon houses from the culture before it.

As you walk up the tower and climb up to each level; practical and creative exhibits tell Thessaloniki’s story of collapsing empires and shifting populations, a great fire and other events molding the shape of the cosmopolitan city it is today.

At the top there is a food museum display of sorts and a terrific view of the port, seaside apartments and the walls of the Byzantine acropolis (castle) of Thessaloniki rising way up in the hills. Take a taxi up to visit the acropolis where you will find there is another incredible view.