City sights

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The city stands at the back of the closed bay with which it shares its name and which leads into the Thermaic Gulf. Day and night, it welcomes the visitor, offering hotels for every pocketbook, excellent cuisine and a wide variety of entertainment opportunities.

To get an idea of the city, a walk along its waterfront is a must. Heading east from the port, you come to the White Tower, the city's symbol. This cylindrical structure, 32m. high, was erected in 1430 by the Venetians and constituted a part of their coastal fortification system. A tourist attraction in its own right, its interest is doubled by the Exhibition of thessaloniki's Art and History housed within.

Seeing the White Tower will undoubtedly spur you on to the other monuments in the city. Start with the Arch of Galerius, erected in honour of that emperor; the church of St. George, better known as the Rotontda, built in the early 3rd century during Galerius' reign; St. Dimitrios, the largest church in Greece, dedicated to the city's defender and patron; if you have time, there are many more Byzantine churches as well.

Don't forget to take a look at the old city ramparts, constructed under Theodosius the Great at the end of the 4th century and later reinforced during the early years of the Turkish occupation. The visit also gives you the opportunity to get to know the Upper City, which is also the old section of town.

You'll come across vestiges of the past in other districts too. But before you leave, make an effort to see what's inside some Thessaloniki's fine museums: the Museum of Folk Art, the History Centre and, not to be missed, the Archaeological Museum, the most important in Northern Greece where, apart from the major finds from various sites, are displayed the treasures excavated from the royal tombs at Vergina.

Now, after exploring the residential area of Panorama, with its lovely houses dotting the wooded slopes of Hortiatis and its splendid view over the city, let's head south. But not without stopping to taste a peinerli (a kind of Greek pizza filled with melted cheese, ham and sauce) some soutzoukakia (cumin Flavoured meatballs with tomato sauce) and other delicacies for which Thessaloniki's cooks are renowned, rounded off by a luscious sweet, perhaps a karioka or honey soaked ravani. Indescribably delicious.

As if that were not enough, on the way south, you'll pass through some beautiful coastal  suburbs where you'll have the chance to sample the area's wonderful fish and seafood; the whole region is particularly famous for its mussels. In fact, you'll be able to satiate your craving for fish virtually everywhere around the Thermaic Gulf.

Agia Triada, Nea Michaniona, Epanomi and other seaside districts are next on our route, offering all the facilities of a well organized resort and enchanting scenery.



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