Roman Architecture of Thessaloniki

Since its founding in the 4th century BC, Thessaloniki has gained an important political and military role. During Roman times, due to its strategic position, it flourished as a shopping center and ships from the Black Sea and the East arrive there and sell their merchandise to the local market. Such an economic boom has naturally given the city a cultural and architectural impetus. The Romans built many public works and entertainment buildings, which survive to this day. Such a Roman monument is the Arch of Galerius, or known as Kamara, a triumphal arch built by the Roman general Galerius to celebrate his final victory over the Persians. Other monuments of Thessaloniki dating from this time are the palaces of Galerius, the Roman market and the Roman theater.

ΡΩΜΑΪΚΗ ΑΡΧΙΤΕΚΤΟΝΙΚΗ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣAfter the Romans, the Byzantines came to the domination of Thessaloniki. Although the city remained a major economic center for the entire empire, there were other changes in society and architecture.

Christianity & Thessaloniki Architecture

As Christianity became the official religion of the Byzantine Empire, churches were built throughout the city. Many of these churches are still preserved, and in fact all churches in the early Christian and Byzantine times have been declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. These churches were mostly made of stone and marble, with a tall bell tower and a round dome at the top. An example of such churches is Panagia Halkes, Hagia Sophia and Panagia Acheropoihtou, but there are many others in the Old City or in the Upper City of Thessaloniki.

ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΙΣΜΟΣ & ΑΡΧΙΤΕΚΤΟΝΙΚΗ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣIn fact, Upper Town is the oldest and most picturesque quarter of Thessaloniki. Boasting stone-paved paths, stone churches and old, connected homes, the Upper City of Thessaloniki is surrounded by huge walls to protect residents from hostile and pirate attacks.

As three different kind of people lived mostly in Thessaloniki until the early 20th century (Orthodox Greeks, Ottoman Turks and Jews), architecture is different and depicts all these cultures. Therefore, you will see mosques next to churches and old synagogues and minarets next to the bell towers. Unfortunately, a great fire in 1917 destroyed much of the Old City, especially the Jewish Quarter.

Thessaloniki Architecture Today

Today, this neighborhood is abandoned, as only a few Jews survived the Second World War. In 1944, the city suffered great damage from the allies bombing, which destroyed many public buildings and homes. In the following decades, from the 1950s to the 1970s, Thessaloniki was rebuilt with modern architecture and many factories were installed in the area. Today, Thessaloniki is a modern city with interesting architecture: a combination of old, neoclassical and modern architectural style. The most popular spot is the waterfront, a beautiful walk surrounded by squares.


With car rental from Alpha Drive you will have the chance to visit the city’s architectural interest points. With more than 70 available vehicles, AlphaDrive is able to fully meet your car rental needs in Thessaloniki.

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