Introducing Thessaloniki

Immensely likable Thessaloniki (thess-ah-lo-nee-kih) has never been more fun, cultured or affordable than it is right now. Greece's second city has excellent restaurants, museums and sights, plus an increasingly hip and inventive nightlife scene fleshed out by many thousands of Greek and foreign university students. Thessaloniki's a great base, as it provides easy connections by air, land and sea with numerous national and international destinations. And, as a safe and walkable small city, it has none of Athens' problems, either.

Travellers always seem to return to Thessaloniki, and it's indeed outfitted with enduring symbols of a glorious history; these include the White Tower on the cafe-lined waterfront, erstwhile Ottoman structures, and lengthy Byzantine walls culminating at the Ano Poli (Upper Town), an enchanting neighbourhood of colourful old houses, where Byzantine churches peek from winding alleyways. Grand structures include the 5th-century Church of Agios Dimitrios, the enormous Roman Rotunda and Roman Emperor Galerius’ 3rd-century palace ruins.

Most recently, during digs for the long-awaited Metro, extensive portions of the 6th-century central street and tetraphylon (monumental gate) were discovered, sparking fervent debates over how to reconcile modern development with buried historical riches.

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