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History & Culture

Thessaloniki is one of the most historical cities in Greece. Its establishment, in approximately 315BC, coincides with the beginning of the Hellenistic era. The heir of the kingdom of Macedonia Cassander and husband of Thessaloniki, half blood sister of Alexander the Great and daughter of Philip II, founds the city by conjugating 26 townships scattered around the Thermaic Gulf and gives his wife’s name to this new city. In the 2nd century BC the city is subsumed to Roman dominion, like the rest of the Greek and Asia Minor Hellenistic world. In 1432 Thessaloniki is conquered by the Ottomans who shall rule it for roughly five centuries, in parallel fashioning its multicultural and cosmopolitan character, the main communities being, aside from the Greek, the Jewish and the Turkish. In 1912 Thessaloniki is incorporated in the Greek state. The Destruction of Asia Minor will bring more than 100,000 refugees to the city, who brought new problems but also infused a new breath by bringing with them their mores and customs from Asia Minor. After the end of WWII begins a fast reconstruction of the city, completely reshaping it. Major building installations and other construction works lend to Thessaloniki the sight of a modern metropolis. Thessaloniki again develops a multifaceted economic, commercial, cultural and artistic activity, its population increases at a rapid rate and the city now becomes the political, economic and social center in Northern Greece.
Interesting information on the history of Thessaloniki in the early last century (1900-1930) can be found at internet address:
Throughout the year the visitors of Thessaloniki have the opportunity to marvel at rare and exquisite findings and monuments not only of the Greek but also of the international cultural heritage on display in Thessaloniki’s museums. The culture of Macedonia since the prehistoric era and until the late antiquity is presented in the Archaeological Museum ( while the Byzantine Museum ( is home to exhibits of great historical and religious value, a heritage of our Byzantine ancestors. The permanent collection of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art ( includes important works by Greek and foreign artists, while the State Museum of Modern Art ( is one of the most important of its kind and home to the superlative “Kostakis” collection, showcasing works of the Russian avant-garde. The nucleus of the collection Telloglion Foundation for the Arts ( is the donation of its founder, Telloglou, which includes works of art from various culture and important works by Greek and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Also worth visiting is the Jewish Museum (, the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle (, the Folklore Museum (, the History Center of Thessaloniki, with its rich historical archives for the city, the Film Museum (, which is home to rare footage from films and news reels, the Photography Museum (, the War Museum showcasing important war exhibits from the Balkan and the two World Wards, the Olympic Museum ( and the Water Museum, housed in an old pump station of the Water Company of Thessaloniki. Finally, the installations of the Center for the Dissemination of Science and Technology Museum Noesis ( include a Planetarium, a Simulator and a Cosmo-theater.

The great number of monuments in the historic center of Thessaloniki accentuate its rich historic course in the passage of centuries. Beginning with the roman market at the heart of the city and moving on to the Arch of Galerius, known as “Kamara”, your walk will end in the rich archaeological findings in Ippodromiou Square which compose an imposing building complex, known as Galerian complex. The Caste of Thessaloniki is mainly the work of Byzantine Emperors and the view of the city from there, the area of Ano Poli on which they dominate, is truly breathtaking. A perpetual symbol of Thessaloniki, the White Tower stands proud and imposing, being one of the most important monuments in the city. Of great interest are also the Byzantine churches of Thessaloniki a treasured religious and cultural heritage. Some of them have been included in UNESCO’s treaty and are protected as international heritage monuments. The “Paleo-Christian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki”, as they are known, include the Church of St. George or Rotunda, the Church of Acheiropoiitos, the Church of St. Demetrius, the Monastery of Latomo, the Church of Hagia Sofia, the Church of Panagia Chalkeon, the Church of Sts. Apostles, the Church of Agios Nicolaos Orfanos and the Church of Agios Panteleimon. Muslim mosques also feature in the historic walk in Thessaloniki’s monuments: Hamza Bey Mosque, Alatza Imaret Mosque, Geni Mosque, Bezesteni (roofed market), Yiahudi Hamam and Syntrivani (the Fountain). Finally, Thessaloniki has also many characteristic samples of neoclassical buildings, erected at the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century: the Residency, the School of Philosophy, the old Customs House, Villa Allatini, the Orphanage at Papafi, the hospital of St. Demetrius, Caza Bianca, Mitta Villa, Mahomet Kapantzi Villa, the Fifth Boys Gymnasium are just some of these splendid architectural edifices which can be discovered in the city.
Thessaloniki Concert Hall was constructed on a coastal site, which was granted by the State, in the area of Poseidonio Sports Center. It was inaugurated in early 2000 and begun its scheduled activities in May in the same year. The establishment of a Concert Hall came as a solution to Thessaloniki’s need for a space that would be able to house not only artistic but also various other activities. The building, the exterior of which stands in total harmony with the history of Thessaloniki, combining elements bother of its glorious Byzantine past as well as its later cosmopolitan role, on the one hand fulfills all requirements for hosting such a wide variety of events, while, on the other hand, being a crown jewel for the city.






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