Thessaloniki City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 15, 2007

Thessaloniki (also known as Salonica) is another major city of Greece.  It is actually the second-largest, next only to Athens.  Thessaloniki is also another large metropolitan area with a population of over 700,000.  The city itself is home to over 300,000 inhabitants.  Thessaloniki can be found in Macedonia.

Thessaloniki has rich trade roots.  In the past, it was an important stronghold of Rome mainly due to its strategic location.  It was on the way of the Roman public road, the Via Egnatia, the main thoroughfare that connected Albania and the city of Constantinople, now Istanbul so trade and traffic between Asia and Europe had to pass through Thessaloniki.  Due to its location, moreover, Thessaloniki became a rich melting-pot of various cultures including that of the Jews, the Romans, and the Turks.  It is also one of the places where the Greek traditional music, Remebetika, originated.

A big part of the city, however, was burned in 1917.  On the ashes of the old city rose the Thessaloniki of today.  It was supposed to have wider and well-planned roads as well as major squares.  The plan for urban landscaping mainly failed, however.  Nonetheless, Thessaloniki is currently one of the busiest centres of industry in the whole of Greece.  It is also the site of the International Trade Fair held every September.

Residential Places in Thessaloniki

Ano Poli is the main residential area in the municipality or city of Thessaloniki.  It is also called the Upper Town because of its unique and rising topography.  This part of the city belongs to the historic part of the city which had been saved from the fire of 1917.  Here, you will see some of the oldest churches in Thessaloniki.  This was the city’s old Ottoman or Turkish quarter.

On the other hand, you can decide to stay near the waterfront in the Ladadika district of Thessaloniki.  This is the place to stay in if you want to be close to all the modern amenities of the city.

Close enough to the city proper and part of the Thessaloniki metropolitan area is Kalamaria, the suburban residential neighbourhood that is only around 5 kilometres from downtown Thessaloniki.  This is an affluent neighbourhood, perfect for those who want to be near the attractions of the city without having to live in the busy centre itself.

Hospitals and Universities of Thessaloniki

The University General Hospital of Thessaloniki (also referred to as A.H.E.P.A University Hospital) is associated with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and is located at the University area.  It is one of the largest and most famous hospitals in the northern part of Greece.  Another hospital in Thessaloniki is the Iatriko Diavalkaniko Hospital, known in English as the Inter-Balkan Medical Centre.  This hospital is found in the outskirts of the city, particularly near the Macedonia International Airport.  There is also the Ippokrateio General Hospital of Thessaloniki that is located along Kostantinoupoleos Street.  Other hospitals include the General Hospitals of Papageorgiou and G. Papanikolaou along the Circular Road Neas Efkarpias and Eksoxi, respectively.  In Thessaloniki, there is also a cancer hospital (Theageneio), a psychiatric hospital, a hospital treating dermatological and venereal diseases, and a hospital for chronic disease treatment.  There are also a number of special and small clinics in and around Thessaloniki.

Premier Universitites and Educational Facilities

In Thessaloniki, you can find one of the premier universities in Northern Macedonia and one of the most famous universities in all of Greece.  This is the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, located near the city centre.  One other university in Thessaloniki is the University of Macedonia which is located at Egnatia St.

U.K. expatriates will also find several educational institutions in Thessaloniki which are overseen or run by British academic institutions.  One example is the City College, a Thessaloniki branch of the University of Sheffield.  There is also the ICBS Business School which is affiliated with the Kingston University.  In Thessaloniki, you’ll also find the U.S. accredited institution, the American College of Thessaloniki.

Commercial Places in Thessaloniki

At the centre of Thessaloniki, you will find elegant shops and boutiques.  The Tsimiski St is the place to explore if you prefer world-renowned clothing, apparel and accessory brands.  Other upscale shopping avenues in the city centre are the Aghias Sohpias and the Aristotelous Square among others.  The Kalamaria district is also a good place for finding elegant shops.  You can also visit the large shopping mall, the Mediterranean Cosmos, which is found in Pylaia.

If you are planning on shopping for food and other fresh produce, though, it may be more practical – not to mention more exciting – if you are to shop in the Modiano Old Market.  This sprawling complex is the centre of Thessaloniki when it comes to fresh meat, vegetables, flowers, fish, and all kinds of foodstuff.  Another place of interest is the Kentriki Agora or the Central Market of Thessaloniki where you can find various spices, fruits and other food stuff.

Specialty Cuisines

For dining and hanging out, the waterfront area is ideal.  Along the Nikis Boulevard and the Ladadika area, you will find numerous international and well-known restaurants, cafes and bars.  You should also go to the Athonos Square as well as the Bit Pazar; both areas are known for their many cafes and bars that serve delicious, local food and wine.  If you want to try many bars at one and the same time, though, you should try the Milos complex where you will find all kinds of clubs and discos.  The clubs and bars here offer various kinds of food (both western and eastern), drinks (famous brands and exotic wines) and music (modern, traditional and all types of genres).

Service Establishments of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Energy S.A. is an electrical distribution company in Thessaloniki.  This is a subsidiary of the greater natural gas power corporation, the Hellenic Petroleum S.A.  Themeliodomi S.A., on the other hand, offers solar power infrastructure and equipment to those who prefer this type of alternative source of energy.  The Public Power Corporation S.A. also has an office at Ethnikis Aminas, Thessaloniki and can be contacted at telephone number 2310-360000.

OTE S.A. is a leading telephony and internet service provider in Greece.  It provides service to Thessaloniki city and the metropolitan area.  There are, all in all, 12 OTE shops in Thessaloniki where you can pay phone and internet bills.  Call hotline number 134 for connection inquiries.

Altec Telecoms, another nationwide provider of telephony and internet services, also has presence in Thessaloniki.  It has several partners in Thessaloniki including Alfatech (at Kleitou), CTS (at P.Kosmidia), Ergobyte (at Aristotelous) and others.  For service, you can contact these partners directly or you can also contact the Altec customer service at hotline 13813.

Embassies in Thessaloniki

The United Kingdom has a consulate in Thessaloniki.  The Thessaloniki British Consulate can be found at # 21 Aristotelous St.  Here, you can get and file an application for a passport, report births and deaths and get notarial services.  However, this consulate does not process visa applications.  The British Consulate at Thessaloniki can be contacted through telephone number 2310-278006 and fax number 2310-283868.

Many other countries have consulates in Thessaloniki.  These countries include The United States, France, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.

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