Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and is the chief port and commercial centre of Macedonia to the north-east on the coast. It has a population of just under 364,000. The port is a natural gateway for the economical activities of the inland markets beyond Greece and it serves the growing needs of those countries by its exportation of raw materials, consumer products and capital equipment. Thessaloniki port is a vital element of the country’s economy and it also plays a substantial role in effort of northern Greece and its city centre to be established as the economic centre of the Eastern Mediterranean. The port is only 1 km from the nearby train station which routes directly into the bustling city centre. The total length of Thessaloniki Port is a generous 6,200 metres and a sea depth down to 12 metres. The port handles over 16,000,000 tons of cargo per year, 3,00 ships dock here and 220,000 passengers arrive as well as a workforce of 2,000 people working on its premises daily.
In 315 BC Thessaloniki was founded by King Cassander of Macedon, he named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great. When the kingdom of Macedon fell to the Romans in 168 BC the city grew to be an important trade hub facilitating trade between Europe and Asia. More recently the city was captured and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941, it was under their command until liberation on 30 October 1944. Therefore the city suffered devastating damage from allied bombing and almost its entire population of Jews were exterminated by the Nazis, leaving barely a thousand survived. However, the city recovered and was quickly rebuilt after the Second World War. Thessaloniki became the European city of culture in 1997.
The area around Thessaloniki is steeped in a rich and lustrous history dating back to Alexander the Great and his father Phillip II of Macedon. Excursions into the surrounding region unfurl this legacy from antiquity through archaeological sites and a dizzying plethora of other ancient marvels. Museums well worth visiting include The Museum of Byzantine Culture, The Archaeological Museum, Jewish History Museum and - The Museum Of The Macedonian Struggle.
You'll find excellent restaurants and taverns in the area below the Kastro, at Ladadika and in Krini, but of course there are many more all over Thessaloniki. Many places have their own specialties, and there are also several international restaurants. Some of the specialities of Thessaloniki is the famous Bougatsa (Cream pie) Loukoumades and Patsas ( Tripe Soup ).