Thessaloniki [also known as Salonica]
- Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and was the second most important city in Byzantine times, after Constantinople. It has a very diverse population: Greeks, Macedonians, Serbians, Bulgarians, Albanians and Jews. It was the birthplace of Cyril and Methodius (9th c. Greek-Macedonian brothers) who developed the Cyrillic alphabet and introduced Orthodoxy to the Slavs, St. Gregory Palamas (13th c. Theologian, Bishop and Hesychast monk) and later to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Kemal, (born in 1881), the first President of Turkey who in 1919-22 during the Turkish War of Independence from the Ottomans helped to displace many Christians in both Anatolia and Macedonia.
Thessaloniki experienced invasion after invasion over the centuries and a devastating city fire in 1917. While much of the Byzantine culture was destroyed by these upheavals, it is still extremely rich in Byzantine architecture, frescoes, iconography, churches, and boasts one of the most beautiful Byzantine museums in the world
- The city is beautiful, has a country charm but is suffering the effects of the current Greek economic crisis. Graffiti in Greece is the modern equivalent of ancient frescoes. Sad but colorful. Start walking!