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22 Aug 2018

Because of Thessaloniki's importance during the early Christian and Byzantine periods, the city is host to several paleochristian monuments that have significantly contributed to the development of Byzantine art and architecture throughout the Byzantine Empire as well as Serbia. The evolution of Imperial Byzantine architecture and the prosperity of Thessaloniki go hand in hand, especially during the first years of the Empire, when the city continued to flourish. It was at that time that the Complex of Roman emperor Galerius was built, as well as the first church of Hagios Demetrios.

By the 8th century, the city had become an important administrative center of the Byzantine Empire, and handled much of the Empire's Balkan affairs. During that time, the city saw the creation of more notable Christian churches that are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Hagia Sophia of Thessaloniki, the Church of the Acheiropoietos, the Church of Panagia Chalkeon. When the Ottoman Empire took control of Thessaloniki in 1430, most of the city's churches were converted into mosques, but have survived to this day. Travelers such as Paul Lucas and Abdulmejid I document the city's wealth in Christian monuments during the years of the Ottoman control of the city.

The church of Hagios Demetrios was burnt down during the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917, as did many other of the city's monuments, but it was rebuilt. During World War II, the city was extensively bombed and as such many of Thessaloniki's paleochristian and Byzantine monuments were heavily damaged. Some of the sites were not restored until the 1980s. Thessaloniki has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites listed than any other city in Greece, a total of 15 monuments. They have been listed since 1988.

You can book a vehicle directly from Thessaloniki airport for trip around Thessaloniki with reliable, low cost transfers that our company provides.