It’s been a long time indeed..
For weeks now I was wondering on the subject of my next blog.
Days passed and nothing came up.
One day while reading the blogs of my other “fellows in crime” I decided this time to write something that has nothing to do with my work (since work is a bit slow lately).
So, here I will talk about the place I love the most. The place I grew up and spent most of my childhood.
The nymph of Thermaikos. Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by king Kassandros after the unison of more than 26 villages in the area. Kassandros named the city after his wife Thesalonike, half-sister of Alexander the Great, to honor her. On the 2nd century BC Thessaloniki was occupied from the Romans and became part of the Roman Empire. In 42 AD becomes a free city (civitas liberta) with its own currency. This is the period when Thessaloniki starts to become one of the biggest trade hubs with Via Egnatia, a road connecting Dyrrachium with Bysantium, crossing through the city. After the fall of Rome in 476 AD and the rise of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki became the second city of the Empire. Its population exceeded 100,000 making it larger than London at the time. On 1024 AD Thessaloniki was captured by the forces of the 4th Crusade which led to the establishment of the “Kingdom of Thessalonika”, while 200 years later, the city was overrun by the Despotate of Epirus, and became the Despotate’s capital.
In 1430 AD comes the occupation of the city by the Ottomans and the city becomes part of the Ottoman Empire for almost 5 centuries. During the Ottoman period the city’s population consisted mainly of Muslims and Greek Orthodox, with the latter being the biggest part of the population, up until the end of the 15th century, when the immigration of Sephardic Jews from Spain occurred. By 1519 Sephardic Jews was the 54% of the population of the city. From then and up until 1912 Jews had a significant role in the city’s architecture and culture.
On 1912 and while the First Balkan war has already started, the Greek army liberates Thessaloniki from the Ottomans while a few years later, on 1917 a huge fire destroys the ¾ of the ancient part of the city. Many people became unemployed and others homeless, resulting in one of the biggest destructions the city of Thessaloniki ever faced. In addition to this disaster, comes the 2nd World War when the city loses a big part of its population. The Jewish community. Approximately, 45,000 citizens were gathered and led to Auschwitz.
Today Thessaloniki has become a modern European city, while it still remains one of the most important trade and business hubs of Southeastern Europe.
Nowadays, Thessaloniki is one of the liveliest cities of Greece. Its population is around 800,000-1,000,000. A big role to the city’s life plays its university, The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), where almost 80,000 students follow their dreams.
Its 5klm seaside, along with the newly renovated old port and the White Tower (city’s landmark), is one of the most genuine and beautiful parts, full of people walking or attending musical or dance events that take part there, especially during the summer.
Thessaloniki is a city with great past.
A city with great food, great people, great places and hopefully great future.
Thessaloniki is my city.
It’s where my heart is.
*roughly translated: Where everything is nice sources: https://goo.gl/WtBYix http://www.inthessaloniki.com/el/i-poli-tis-thessaloniki-istoriki-anadromi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thessaloniki http://www.visitgreece.gr/el/history/history_of_thessaloniki