Our introduction to Greece was with our arrival at our hotel in Thessaloniki at 12:30 am Monday morning. Our trip over was good, on schedule, and no hassle.
Our day began with breakfast at 7:30 and a get-acquainted orientation meeting at 8:30.
Thessaloniki is a Greek port city on the Thematic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Evidence of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history remains, especially around Ano Poli, the upper town.
We boarded a bus that took us down to the waterfront, passed the White Tower of Thessaloniki to the statue of Alexander the Great. We got a short history lesson then headed to Upper Town. We visited some old (500 AD) Byzantine churches and walked along the wall that once circled the city. Also visited the Museum of Byzantine Culture and had another history lesson. On the way back to the hotel we visited the 200 + year old public market. The day ended with a welcoming dinner. It was a very interesting Greece meal. Dish after dish kept coming. Each a little better than the last.
Thessaloniki is not a spectacular, beautiful city, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up in the abundance of history. It is an old city, founded in 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon and lived under Greek rule and mythology until 168 BC when the Romans took control. In 50 AD Paul, the Apostle, visited the city and established the first Christian community. With the fall of the Roman Empire, it became part of the Byzantines until the Ottomans took control in 1492. In 1912 it was liberated by the Greek army. In 1917 the lower half of the city burnt. 1941 it was occupied by the Germans. This is just the top of the iceberg. So much happened with the “changing of the guard”.
We are being kept very busy and entertained and loving it.