With Melnik only 20 kilometers from the border of Greece, we decided to spend the weekend in Thessaloniki before heading to Istanbul. Thessaloniki sits on the Thermaic Gulf, part of the Aegean Sea. One of our favorite parts of the city was the 4.5 kilometer-long promenade along the gulf that allowed for some scenic and peaceful walks, especially in the morning and evening.
Thessaloniki’s history spans 2,300 years and the city is packed with ruins from different historical periods. The city was first founded by Macedonians and later fell under Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule. It is easy to walk around the city and just stumble upon centuries-old ruins.
We visited both the Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Museum of Byzantine Culture. The Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki houses sculptures, art, mosaics, jewelry, and everyday household items from the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods while the Museum of Byzantine Culture follows it chronologically into the early Christian era of the region. One of my favorite exhibits was The Coins of Macedonia which displayed coins from the 6th Century to 148 BC.
The Walls of Thessaloniki were constructed during the Byzantine period in 4th century to protect the city. In order to withstand long sieges and protect against raids, the walls were built over 10 meters high and 5 meters thick. Hiking up to the walls above the old city, offers a great view of Thessaloniki and the Thermaic Gulf!