Thessaloniki (520 km. north of Athens) is the second largest city of Greece and the most important centre of the area. Built near the sea (at the back of the Thermaïkos Gulf), it is a modern metropolis bearing the marks of its stormy history and its cosmopolitan character, which give it a special beauty and charm .
The city of Thessaloniki Greece was founded in 315 BC by king Cassander of Macedonia. It got its name from Thessaloniki, wife of Cassander and half-sister of Alexander the Great, who, in turn, was named like that after her father, king Phillip II of Macedonia, to commemorate his victory over the Phocians with the help of Thessalian horsemen. Thessaloniki, in greek, actually means the "victory of the Thessalians".
Thessaloniki's history spans some 2,300 years. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. Thessaloniki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans.
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