Acropolis of Thessaloniki

Acropolis of Thessaloniki | Unveiling the Legacy of an Ancient City

The Acropolis of Thessaloniki stands tall in Greece’s vibrant second-largest city. This historical gem dates back to the 4th century BC, and was constructed when King Cassander of Macedon founded Thessaloniki. Over the centuries, it has been a stronghold for Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, with each empire adding layers to the rich architecture of the Acropolis. Today, it is a marvellous site of ancient ruins and also serves as a vibrant cultural hub.

Here, you can explore the remnants of its rich past, and also see the White Tower, which was once a notorious prison and is now a fascinating museum. The Acropolis is located on the city’s highest point in the northeast and offers stunning views of Thessaloniki and the Thermaic Gulf. Its strategic location was pivotal in its role as a defensive citadel. The Acropolis of Thessaloniki has massive gates, known as 'Portares', guarding its entrance.

The site’s beauty is enhanced by narrow streets and restored traditional houses, which dot the landscape and are reminiscent of its multicultural heritage. A visit to this ancient site is great for history buffs as well as architecture lovers. It is here where you can enjoy a compelling glimpse into the city’s glorious past and vibrant present.

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History of Acropolis of Thessaloniki

  • The Acropolis of Thessaloniki was built in the 4th century BC when King Cassander of Macedon founded the city
  • The Ottoman Empire ruled the Acropolis and the city from the 15th to the early 20th century.
  • The Acropolis was heavily fortified for protection during the Roman and Byzantine times and features ancient walls, Byzantine churches, and several Ottoman architectural influences.
  • The Acropolis houses the Heptapyrgion, also known as "Yedi Kule," a Byzantine-Ottoman fortress, and was also a key military and administrative centre that governed Thessaloniki.
  • Today, it is a vital cultural heritage site, offering historical insights and panoramic city views.
  • The Acropolis is also recognised by UNESCO as a Paleochristian and Byzantine monument since 1988.

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Things To Do At Acropolis of Thessaloniki

The Acropolis of Thessaloniki is one of the most impressive and historically significant sites in Greece. It is home to many ancient ruins, churches, and monuments that offer an incredible glimpse into the region's rich history. Here are the best ten things to do in the Acropolis of Thessaloniki:

Explore the Byzantine Churches

Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambience of Thessaloniki's Byzantine churches. During your visit to the Acropolis of Thessaloniki, head to the Acheiropoietos Basilica. This early 5th-century marvel is known for its magnificent mosaics and marble columns. Make sure to visit the Rotunda, a 4th-century mausoleum turned church, while you are here. 

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Visit the Rotunda Of Thessaloniki

During your visit to the Acropolis, head to the Rotunda, a testament to Thessaloniki’s history. It was originally a mausoleum for Emperor Galerius, after which this massive domed structure was transformed into a Christian church. As you head inside, you can see the walls covered with detailed mosaics. Each of these mosaic pieces narrates a segment of Byzantine artistry. 

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See the Triumphal Arch At Thessaloniki

Marvel at the grandeur of the Triumphal Arch, a monumental structure in Thessaloniki. The arch celebrates Emperor Galerius's victory over the Persians. Here, you can admire the elaborate reliefs on the arch's surviving central pillars, which depict war and military battles, cavalry, triumphal processions and religious ceremonies. At the arch, you can learn about Thessaloniki's historical expertise.

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Visit the Tomb of Galerius

The Tomb of Galerius lies near the Triumphal Arch and the Rotunda. It is an architectural tribute to the Roman Emperor’s power and legacy. Explore this domed structure after a visit to the Acropolis of Thessaloniki. It dates to the 4th century and features detailed carvings and reliefs. These details offer insights into Galerius's military exploits.

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Walk the Via Egnatia

Follow the ancient route of the Via Egnatia, a major Roman road that linked the Adriatic to Byzantium. This historic route through the Acropolis was constructed in the 2nd century BC. It served as an important military and trade route across the Balkans. Via Egnatia also connected the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. A walk here lets you connect with centuries of travellers who shaped the region's history. 

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Visit the Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is another top attraction within the Acropolis of Thessaloniki complex. It brings the city's ancient history to life through items found during the excavation of the Acropolis site. The collections here include many artefacts, ranging from Hellenistic sculptures to Byzantine icons. The museum also offers an educational journey into the city's political structure. It enhances your understanding of the site's historical significance. 

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The Monastery of Vlatadon

Tucked away in the city's Ano Poli district is the Monastery of Vlatadon. It acts as a sanctuary of peace with its serene gardens and panoramic city views. Founded in the 14th century, it continues to be an active centre of the Orthodox Christian faith. The monastery boasts a combination of spiritual atmosphere and historical architecture. 

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Visit the Baths Of Thessaloniki

Step back into the daily life of ancient Romans at the Baths of Thessaloniki. This site was once a bustling centre for relaxation and socialising. It is one of the few and best-preserved Byzantine baths that have survived in Greece. These well-preserved ruins offer insights into Roman engineering and leisure practices. It dates back to the late 12th or early 13th century and was likely originally part of a monastery complex.

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Explore the Walls Of Thessaloniki

The impressive ancient walls that surround Thessaloniki narrate stories of wars and resilience. These walls are an important historical landmark and date back to the 4th century BC. The current walks are from the Byzantine period and were built to protect the city. They are also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A walk here offers insights into the impressive engineering that protected the city. 

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Know Before You Go Acropolis of Thessaloniki


Eptapirgiou 130, Thessaloniki 546 34, Greece


The Acropolis of Thessaloniki is open all through the day. 

Best Time To Visit:

You can visit the Acropolis of Thessaloniki all year round. However, the best time for a visit is during spring and autumn, since these seasons offer mild weather, making your walk around the site more comfortable. The temperatures are cooler, and there is less chance of rain during these months. Weekdays are preferable as they are less crowded than weekends.

Early mornings or late afternoons are ideal to avoid the midday sun and also offer the best lighting for photos. Visiting during these times ensures a more tranquil and enjoyable experience. It allows you to fully appreciate the rich history and stunning views without the crowds. 

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  • Bus: Take a local bus that serves the Upper Town (Ano Poli) area to reach the Acropolis of Thessaloniki in 10 to 15 minutes. Bus numbers 2, 10, or 11 run from the city centre directly to the Acropolis of Thessaloniki bus stop, covering 1.9 kilometres.

  • Foot: Walk 900 metres from the city centre to the Acropolis in 13 to 20 minutes via Mitropoleos and Vasileos Irakleiou. Start at Aristotelous Square and follow signs to El. Venizelou. Then, turn left onto Vasileos Irakleiou and continue on Fragkon.

  • Taxi: A taxi from the city centre to the Acropolis takes about 10 minutes. You can catch a taxi on the street or use a taxi app.

FAQs for Acropolis of Thessaloniki

What are the best things to do around Athens?

One of the best things to do in Athens is explore the iconic Acropolis of Thessaloniki and its museum. You can also take a stroll through the historic Plaka neighbourhood. Other popular activities include a visit to the National Archaeological Museum. Include a visit to Lycabettus Hill, which offers panoramic views of Athens. Make sure to try local dishes like Moussaka and Souvlaki in Monastiraki Square. 

What is Thessaloniki best known for?

Thessaloniki is best known for its festivals, rich Byzantine history, and culinary scene. The city boasts significant historical sites such as the White Tower and Rotunda. It is also famous for its waterfront promenade and lively markets, like Modiano. The city offers a blend of modern urban life with ancient history.

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Is it worth visiting the Acropolis of Thessaloniki?

Yes, it is definitely worth visiting the Acropolis of Thessaloniki, as the site offers a unique glimpse into the city's Byzantine and Ottoman history. Through its well-preserved walls, you can also enjoy panoramic views of Thessaloniki. It is also a perfect spot to explore ancient architecture and enjoy cultural insights.

What is a famous building in Thessaloniki?

A famous building in Thessaloniki is the White Tower, which is an iconic waterfront landmark that serves as the symbol of the city. It is also home to a museum detailing Thessaloniki's history. The White Tower was built as a fortification during the Ottoman era. Today, it is a focal point for both locals and tourists alike.

What is Thessalonica called today?

Thessalonica, known for its rich history and cultural significance, is called Thessaloniki today, and remains the second-largest city in Greece. Thessalonica is also a hub of cultural activities, historical architecture, and educational institutions. Thessaloniki continues to be a key economic and political centre in Northern Greece.

Why is the White Tower of Thessaloniki famous?

The White Tower of Thessaloniki is famous as the city's most recognisable landmark. It historically served as a fortification and prison during the Ottoman era. Today, it houses a museum that chronicles Thessaloniki's urban and cultural history. It offers visitors insights into the region's rich past and panoramic views from its top.


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