The monastery of Vlatadon in Thessaloniki.

© Lefteris_/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Monastery of Vlatadon


Believed to have been founded around 1351 on the place where Paul preached in Thessaloniki, this secluded monastery blends fascinating history with some of the best views of the city. Listed by Unesco, it is thought to have been significant for Hesychasm, a controversial movement whose foremost 14th-century proponent, St Gregory Palamas, is depicted in a fresco here. You can explore the grounds, the ancient church, a museum of icons, and an aviary filled with peacocks.

A now-lost imperial chrysobull (gold-sealed decree) indicates the Byzantine Empress Anna Paleologina endowed Vlatadon, which still preserves a rich archive of documents dating to the 15th century.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Thessaloniki attractions

1. Church of Osios David

0.12 MILES

This serene little 5th-century church, once the katholikon (major church) of the Monastery of Saviour Christ of Latomos, is one of the most significant…

2. Kastra

0.27 MILES

The kastra (castle) encloses Byzantine churches and timber-framed houses with overhanging upper storeys. Enjoy panoramic views from the tower by the…

3. Church of Nikolaos Orfanos


This early-14th-century church, one of the most beautiful in a city heavy with stunning examples, has superb (though age-darkened) frescoes, many dating…

4. Yeni Hammam

0.37 MILES

An atmospheric 16th-century structure, this former Turkish bath has great acoustics. Today it houses a bar that's gone to great lengths to turn the lovely…

5. Church of Agios Dimitrios

0.41 MILES

This enormous 7th-century basilica honours Thessaloniki’s patron saint. A Roman soldier, Dimitrios was killed around AD 306 at this former Roman bath site…

6. Eptapyrgion

0.42 MILES

A former Byzantine fortress repurposed as a prison by the Ottomans and only decommissioned in 1989, the Eptapyrgion (‘Seven Towers’) is a grim reminder of…

7. Atatürk House

0.43 MILES

Modern Turkey’s illustrious founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938), was born here. Along with displays tracing Atatürk's life and career you'll see…

8. Roman Forum

0.51 MILES

As immaculately laid out as you'd expect of the Romans, this rectangular site was the centre of public and commercial Thessaloniki from the 1st to the 4th…