Twin city Thessaloniki (Greece)
History and profile of the twin city
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and is situated on the Gulf of Thermaikos. With just under 1 million inhabitants the city is the economic and cultural centre of the Province of Macedonia. Thessaloniki was founded in the year 315 BC by the Macedonian king Kassandros. The name 'Thessaloniki' represent the conquest of Thessaly by Macedonia. Later Thessaloniki became the starting point for the conversion of the Slavs to orthodox Christianity by Kyrillos (born in Thessaloniki in 826/827). The patron saint of the city is St Dimitrios, to whom also a large early Christian basilica is dedicated.
From 1453 to 1800 Greece was ruled by Turkey and Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, was born in Thessaloniki. Because of its importance and size the city has become the 'second capital of Greece' and in 1997 it was the cultural capital of Europe.
The history of its twinning with the trade fair city of Leipzig goes back to the year 1700. Back then the city centre already contained the 'Griechenhaus' (the Greek house), in which the first orthodox religious services in Germany were held. In this way Greece was already maintaining links of friendship and cooperation with the citizens of Leipzig 300 years ago.
Facts and Figures
The second-largest city in Greece
Just under 1 million inhabitants
- Twinned with Leipzig since October 1984 (renewed 2008)
Sights worth seeing
- Antique triumphal arch
Remains of the imperial palace with an octagon
Church of St Demetrios (Agios Dimitrios, the city's patron saint), basilica with five aisles, mosaics from the seventh and ninth centuries
Church of Panagia Chalkeon (Kokkini Ekklisia), cross-shaped, four-pillared church (the model for many other cross-in-square churches), decorations going back to the 14th century
The emblem Lefkós Pýrgos (Λευκός Πύργος, 'white tower' in English), today the city's museum
- The birthplace of Atatürk