The moment you enter this covered market, you step backwards in time. This is no longer a busy European city of the 21st century. Rather you find yourself in a Balkan ambience of the Ottoman Empire in the mid 19th century, full of smells and languages and music.
You can find there the finest fish, meats and vegetables, alongside with local specialities.
A few good taverns offer amazing mezedes, and are famous among the city's good eaters. "Myrovolos Smyrni" is one of them.
The most interesting thing happens there on the 24th and 31st of December around noon. People celebrate the forthcomming holiday with a rather special way. After finishing work they go to Modiano for a quick tasty bit with their friends and co-workers. The atmosphere there is magical. Gypsies with loud Clarinettes and drums pass by to sing, Brass bands are around to play traditional music, people dance and are cheerful in a Market packed with people.
This is the place to see strangers join hands and dance together, hug and kiss and wish each other well and offer wine. A true anthropological experience for outsiders, and a human moment for the insiders.
Ermou str. Salonika
When you need a break from the city head east (along with most of Thessaloniki) to the Chalkidiki peninsula, which has what many say are the best beaches in Greece. Try the less developed 2nd or 3rd leg and some of the beautiful old towns like Arnea. A beautiful area to discover.
Thessaloniki's east coast.
Thessaloniki is usually overlooked by visitors to Greece as it lacks an outstanding feature like Athens’ Acropolis. However, it is in many ways a more interesting city with a far more turbulent and diverse history from the times of Alexander the Great through to the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.
It’s a city you need to explore as it’s quite hard to find the interesting monuments in the chaos of the modern city. Thessaloniki was burned down in 1917 and of the wooden buildings only the Anopoli survived, this used to be the old Ottoman quarter and with its narrow cobbled streets and charismatic overhanging houses it’s a magical escape and it has the best tavernas in the city.
Check out the monasteries there as well with amazing views and on a clear day you can see Mt Olympus across the bay.
Tourists never make it here because they never find it and the Greeks don't see it as a tourist attraction. Make for the Trigonian tower (you can see it at the top of the city) and then begin walking West down the street 'Eptapyrgio' along the Byzantine walls, at any point if you walk down towards the city you will find the Anopoli, the best of the Anopoli is the western side.
Sephardic Jews actually made up the majority of Thessaloniki's population from 1600 to WW2, and the Jewish museum is a fascinating and unique account of an extroardinary story, as well as the general history of the city in that period.
If your interested in the history check out the Thessaloniki page on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thessaloniki
13, Agiou Mina Street, 546 24 Thessaloniki, Greece
tel/fax: +30 2310 250406-7;
Thessaloniki is one of Europe's oldest cities. Though little remains of the period during the reign of Alexander, the Rotunda gives you some feel of the sheer age of the city. Nested in amongst modern tower blocks the huge Rotunda, originally a pagan building whose purpose is not known, is almost empty inside but exudes incredible, almost mystical atmosphere. Also visit the church Agia Sofia, which was built at the same time as its sister in Istanbul. Though not as impressive it’s still amazing, especially if you get to see a ceremony there, or best of all a Greek wedding.
The Rotunda is by the arch of Galerius in Kamara and Agia Sofia is just up from the White Tower
Ladadika is what remains of the Jewish quarter (Thessaloniki had a huge Jewish population until the war). It’s a very small area but one of the nicest places to eat in the city centre and has a style like Dublin's Temple Bar. Its also one of the few places where you get a feel for what Thessaloniki must have been like before the fire.
Also if you want to experience one of the best nightlifes in Greece, walk from Ladadika along the seafront to the white tower where the party never seems to end.
Walk down Tsimiski street until the central bank or walk down the seafront until the port, Ladadika is the little area between Tsimiski and the port
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