Empiria Learning

Thessaloniki (Greece)

Thessaloniki is named after a Macedonian princess, the daughter of King Philip II and half-sister of Alexander the Great. Her name – a combination of the words “Thessaly” (a region south of Macedonia) and “Nike” (Victory) – was conceived by her father.

The historical profile of Thessaloniki, began in the Hellenistic era and has continued uninterrupted to the present day, it is mainly linked to its Byzantine life. The walled city and its monuments can reasonably be called an open Byzantine Museum. All city monuments, Byzantine, Post-Byzantine and Ottoman – have been declared historical landmark monuments. Fifteen (15) of the Early Christian-Byzantine monuments were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

Thessaloniki was one of the first places where Christianity was preached when Paul the Apostle visited the city in 50/51 AD. It was also the place in which Christianity – as it was expressed by the Nicene Creed – was centuries later established as the official religion of the entire Roman Empire.

In 1943, approximately 45,000-50,000 Jews, up to 95% of the city’s Jewish population at the time, were deported by the Nazis to concentration and extermination camps in Poland and Germany. Most of them were murdered in the gas chambers as soon as they arrived. It is estimated that only 4% of the deported Jews from Thessaloniki survived and even fewer returned. Nowadays, in the city, there are approximately 1,000 Jews

The most important administrative, cultural, and business center in northern Greece, and the second largest city in Greece.

A midsize city situated on the Thermaic Gulf, with a population of more than 1.1 million in the metropolitan area.


Thessaloniki is a crossroads of flavors, a metropolis of tastes, a gastronomic capital.

Thessaloniki is the largest university town in the country, and the city’s main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans.

Near the Aegean Sea, an hour’s drive from both Mt. Olympus and beatyful beaches, and a short flight from the capitals of several Balkan and Mediterranean countries.

The outdoor cinemas of Thessaloniki have been intertwined with the history of the city for over a century.

Today, although they are significantly fewer than the past, these unique open air sites are still some of the best options for entertainment.

On a clear day, Mount Olympus, the legendary “Home of the Gods” in ancient Greek mythology, can be seen in its entirety from Thessaloniki although it stands 80km far in the horizon, across the sea of Thermaikos Gulf.

Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and one of the natural boundaries between the regions of Macedonia and Thessaly.

The light of Greece opened my eyes,
penetrated my pores,
expanded my whole being.
Henry Miller, American writer
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Ithaca, Constantinos P. Cavafy
Education is the kindling of a flame,
not the filling of a vessel
There is nothing permanent except change.
The sea was sapphire coloured, and the sky burned
like a heated opal through the air;
We hoisted sail; the wind was blowing fair.
For the blue lands that to eastward lie.
Oscar Wilde, Writer
The feeling of being lost in time and geography with months and years hazily sparkling ahead in a prospect of inconjecturable magic
Patrick Leigh Fermor, English Writer
We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature,
our religion, our arts have their root in Greece”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, English Poet
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