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Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and capital of Macedonia, the nation's largest northern region. It is honorary called “co-capital” of Greece and constitutes a major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre, as well as an important transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe.

Air traffic to and from the city is served by Makedonia International Airport, for both international and domestic flights. Extended direct flights from Thessaloniki, to Germany (Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Dortmund, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Munich), Switzerland (Zurich), Turkey (Istanbul), Hungary (Budapest), Romania (Bucharest), Cyprus (Larnaca, Paphos), Austria (Vienna), Czech Republic (Prague), France (Paris) and Great Britain (London), have enabled the connection of this important hub with the largest European capitals, providing seamless travelling and less stop- overs through Athens.

Having served for many centuries as the military and administrative hub of the region, and as the transportation link between Europe and the Levant, it has attracted merchants, traders and refugees from across Europe, who came here in order to find prosperity. As a central Balkan seaport from the past until present and melting pot of different nationalities and cultural traditions, Thessaloniki is steeped in history. A large number of Byzantine, Ottoman and Jewish monuments are spread all around this metropolis, comprising an unparalleled architectural profile and depicting its historical heritage. Arches, diagonal streets and monumental squares, Byzantine churches and Turkish mosques, together with the remaining fortifications and buildings from the post-Byzantine era, are the historic treasures that form a unique cultural profile.

Thessaloniki is inviting visitors to take an intriguing stroll through its variegated past. While in the city, one has the opportunity to visit landmarks such as the White Tower, widely regarded as the symbol of the city, the Arch and Tomb of Galerius (or "Kamara") erected shortly before 305 A.D., the Upper Town or Ano Poli with the beautiful wooden houses overhanging the winding streets, not to mention the Roman Forum and Theatre, the Roman Baths or the Rotonda, a domed building of early 4th century A.D. Among them stand some of the most unique Byzantine churches, particularly Osios David, St. Nicholas Orphanos and the Vlatades Monastery, while the Church of Aghios Demetrios is the most important church in the entire city. Next to the old buildings, which break the monotony of the modern ones, we see the more recent structures such as the OTE Tower with a revolving restaurant which offers spectacular views of the city or the two modern convention centers and the International Exhibition Centre which host important trade exhibitions.

Being the gateway to the Balkans, it is the preferred choice of the Southern European countries for the organization of major international trade fairs, exhibitions, conventions and conferences. Over 1.8 million visitors and 6.000 enterprises-exhibitors from around the world participate at HELEXPO’s exhibitions each year, with Thessaloniki International Fair being their top choice. Through the years and the constant efforts of the local authorities, Thessaloniki has been upgrading its infrastructure and the quality of hospitality services, securing its position on the business map and attracting new entrepreneurial opportunities.

In and near the centre are located top- end hotels and resorts, some of the finest in Northern Greece, which can accommodate large groups and host conventions and conferences, while in the suburbs the modern Casino attracts visitors from all Southern European countries.

The city is right on the waterfront, where a promenade offers a great opportunity for walks and recreation, interspersed with modern restaurants serving nouvelle cuisine and bakeries that give off an intoxicating aroma of vanilla, cinnamon and freshly-baked biscuits. Aristotelous Square is surrounded by cafes and bars and fills with people in the evening, while a lot of authentic tavernas are to be found in the Kastra area, the old Turkish quarter. The “Ladadika” area is considered to be the heart of the nightlife entertainment, attracting all generations and offering choices suitable for all tastes.

Thessaloniki is amongst the best shopping locations in the Balkans, with dozens of designer shops and several malls. It’s a city that combines everything, at the right proportion.

As far as side excursions are concerned, within a short distance we find amazing beaches but also impressive mountains, valleys and unspoilt natural treasures. Only a few kilometers away, the visitor can enjoy the beaches of Halkidiki, the three pronged peninsula which is renowned for its extensive beaches, pine forests and small villages. There are still small sandy beaches hidden among rocky out-croppings. Last but not least, a religious state within a state is “Agio Oros” (Mount Athos), which is to Greece what the Vatican is to Rome.

Combining a rich cultural heritage, a modernized city structure and a plethora of of business opportunities, Thessaloniki provides the unique environment for recreation and the ideal location for small or large conferences, incentive tours and corporate meetings.