Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thessaloniki, Greece

After Alexander the Great died in Babylon at the age of 32 in June 323 BC, his empire was broken into four.  Cassander of Macedon ruled the northern Greece region and established Thessaloniki in 315 BC.  Thessaloniki was the name of Cassander's wife.  Cassander was also the one who killed Alexander's son, whose tomb was side by side with the tomb of his grandfather, Phillip II.  

Thessaloniki was an important metropolis by the Roman period.  It was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, and passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912.  It is a port city.  Macedonia has fought to gain control but failed.  The bad blood between Greece and Macedonia has continued till this day.The city has lots of remains from history, and is quite popular to tourists.

Thessaloniki is right by  the Thermaic Gulf at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea. In the morning, the rowers are rowing by the shipping vessels.
 The :White Tower" by the waterfront.
 The statue of Alexander the Great at the waterfront park:
 These weapons were so powerful at the time, and was designed by Phillip II.
Dogs were every where, this one followed us during the entire morning walk.  And he was afraid of his shadow, just like the horse of Alexander the Great!
Near our hotel:

 The group then went to Dion to visit where Alexander got his horse, and the ruins of a Roman City.
 An outdoor theater underneath Mount Olympus:

 A walk through the ruins:
 A patch of the ancient Roman road:
 Roman toilets:
 An indoor musical hall:
 Roman bath:
 Mosaic out in the open exposed to the elements:

 Some mosaic was saved and transferred to be kept in the archaeological lab:
An ancient musical instrument:

We saw some kiwi groove on our way back to the hotel. I never knew that kiwi grows on a vine!

We also toured the Ano Poll (Upper Town), and walked from Upper Town down to the city center.

 The old castle wall, a UNESCO site:

 From the top, one can see the lower town below, and the Aegean Sea
 The lower town was once totally burned by fire and was rebuilt, as one can see the different colored roof between upper and lower town.
Lots of colorful houses and old churches:

 A very handsome mosaic of young Jesus!

 Then there was the Byzantine Cultural Museum:

 Some exquisite mosaic with gold pieces:

 Burial chamber with beautiful fresco

One afternoon I simply walked by myself on the streets to explore along with the local crowd.  I went in to the White Tower and looked at all the exhibits about the history of Thessaloniki.  Very good exhibits!!

A view from the top floor window of the Tower:
 The waterfront stretches toward our hotel :
 Pieces of the old wall used to be part of a palace:

 A picture of how the old palace might look like:

 A Byzantine church:

 The Rotunda built in early 4th AD, as a temple for the ancient cult worship or as imperial mausoleum.  It was closed!
And like many other European cities, there was once deportation of Jews by Nazi,  Thousands of Jews in Thessaloniki also fell victim under Nazi.  The city built this memorial at the spot those poor Jews were put on the train heading to the death camp,

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