In 315 B.C. the Macedonian king Kassander married the step sister of Alexander the Great and gave to the new city, resulting from the union of 26 settlements, its name: Thessaloniki.
It was a flourishing city due to its good location. In less than two centuries after its foundation, the Romans conquered Thessaloniki and the whole of Macedonia.
In 42 B.C. Thessaloniki became a free city (civitas libere) and a period of peace and prosperity began. It’s not a coincidence that Saint Paul preached Christianity here around 50 A.D.
Thessaloniki was then a provincial capital of the Roman Empire and from 305 B.C. the seat of the emperor was occupied by Galerius who adorned the city with some famous monuments such as the Rotonda, the arch of Galerius ( Kamara) and others.Thessaloniki was then a provincial capital of the Roman Empire and from 305 B.C. the seat of the emperor was occupied by Galerius who adorned the city with some famous monuments such as the Rotonda, the arch of Galerius ( Kamara) and others.
Under the reign of Constantine the Great, Christianity became state religion and at that time many churches were erected. Visitor can still see many of them on a walk through the city.
During the centuries that followed Thessaloniki suffered from invasions by the Goths, Persians, Arabs, Venetians and Turks, but the city walls protected the inhabitants.
In the 9th century Cyrill and Methodios, brothers from Salonica, the apostles of the Slavs, left the city in order to go to northern countries and Christianize the population there.
During the course of the fourth crusade the city was occupied by the Franks for about 20 years and from1224 was the capital of the despot of Epirus.
After the threat of the Catalans, the city joined a golden era with a rich cultural and artistic life, famous monuments, richly decorated churches and well-known scholars.
The Turkish occupied Thessaloniki in 1430 and there were separate districts within the city where Turks, Christians or Jews lived. Thousands of people settled in the city during the middle of the 15th century.
It became a cosmopolitan centre, an exciting city with an increasing population.
At the end of the 19th century a railroad connected Thessaloniki with central Europe and Constantinople. A tram pulled by horses and industrial plants were also made and it had become a European city, where the main part of the population consisted of Greeks.
On October the 26th in 1912 the city regained its freedom with the help of the Greek troops.