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(thĕ'sälōnē`kē) or


(sălənē`kə, səlŏn`ĭkə), also known as Thessalonike, Thessalonica, Salonika, and Saloniki, city (1991 pop. 383,967), capital of Thessaloníki prefecture, N Greece, in Macedonia; on the Gulf of Thessaloníki, an inlet of the Aegean Sea, at the neck of the Khalkidhikí Peninsula. It is the second largest city in Greece, a major modern port, and an industrial and commercial center. Exports from the port (opened in 1901) include grain, food products, tobacco, manganese and chrome ores, and hides. The city's industries produce refined oil, steel, petrochemicals, textiles, machinery, flour, cement, pharmaceuticals, and liquor. Thessaloníki is also a transportation hub. It is the site of an annual trade fair.

Although largely rebuilt in modern style, Thessaloníki still retains its famous white Byzantine walls, the 15th-century White Tower, and a Venetian citadel. The city is famous for its many fine churches, notably those of St. Sophia (modeled after its namesake in İstanbul and including fine mosaics), of St. George, and of St. Demetrius. The ruins of the triumphal arch of Emperor Constantine are there, in addition to Aristotle Univ.


An old city, rich in history, Thessaloníki was founded (c.315 B.C.) by Cassander, king of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma, and was named for his wife. The city was located on the Via Egnatia, an important Roman road that linked Byzantium to Durrës (Dyrrhachium) on the Adriatic. It flourished after 146 B.C. as the capital of the Roman province of Macedon. Thessaloníki had from early times a sizable Jewish colony, and it was an early Christian diocese. To the infant church there, St. Paul addressed his two epistles to the ThessaloniansThessalonians
, two letters of the New Testament. First Thessalonians was written by St. Paul from Corinth, c.A.D. 51, and addressed to the newly founded church at Thessalonica (Thessaloníki). It opens with a reminiscence of the founding of the church there.
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Under the Byzantine Empire Thessaloníki was second only to Constantinople. The massacre (A.D. 390) of the rebellious citizens of Thessaloníki by order of Theodosius I led to the emperor's temporary excommunication. The city was occupied by the Saracens in 904 and by the Normans of Sicily in 1185. When in 1204 the leaders of the Fourth Crusade created a Latin empire (see Constantinople, Latin Empire ofConstantinople, Latin Empire of,
1204–61, feudal empire established in the S Balkan Peninsula and the Greek archipelago by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade (see Crusades) after they had sacked (1204) Constantinople; also known as the empire of Romania
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), the kingdom of Thessaloníki, comprising most of N and central Greece, was its largest fief. It was given by Baldwin I to his rival Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, but it was seized (c.1222) by the Greek ruler of Epirus, who had himself proclaimed emperor.

The kingdom of Thessaloníki fell into anarchy in the struggle between the Greek rulers of Epirus and the Greek emperors of Nicaea. In 1246 the city fell to the Nicaeans, who in 1261 restored it to the Byzantine Empire. Thessaloníki was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Murad I in 1387, was restored to the Byzantine Empire c.1405, was bought by Venice in 1423, and was reconquered by the Ottoman Turks (under Murad II) in 1430. Thessaloníki remained in Ottoman hands until it was conquered by Greece in 1912 during the Balkan Wars. The city was the birthplace of Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, and was the headquarters of the Young Turk movement in the early 20th cent.

In World War I the Allies landed (1915) at Thessaloníki, thus beginning the Thessaloníki campaigns, and in 1916 Venizelos established his pro-Allied provisional government of Greece there. A great fire in 1917 destroyed much of the city. Thessaloníki suffered considerable damage in World War II, and its large (c.50,000) Jewish population, which had been greatly increased in the late 15th and early 16th cent. by an influx of Jews from Spain, was nearly liquidated by the Germans. In 1978 an earthquake destroyed part of the city.


See study by M. Mazower (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Salonika), a city and major port in Greece in the Gulf of Salonika of the Aegean Sea; the second largest city in Greece (after Athens) in population and economic importance. Population, 345,800 (1971; Greater Thes-saloniki, 545,000).

The port handles not only Greek cargo but also the cargo of other Balkan states; for example, a special zone has been set aside for Yugoslavia. The port handled 8,700,000 tons of cargo in 1975. Greater Thessaloniki has petrochemical, metallurgical, metalworking, machine-building, and electronics industries, as well as shipbuilding. The city is the country’s principal center of the textile industry. It also has food-processing and tobacco enterprises. Thessaloniki holds annual international fairs in the autumn. The city has a university and an archaeological museum, which includes articles from the classical and early medieval periods.

Thessaloniki was founded in 315 B.C. by Cassander, king of Macedonia. In 148 B.C. it came under Roman rule. After the fall of Rome, the city was second in importance only to Constantinople. The Slavic educators Cyril and Methodius were from Thessaloniki. In 1204 the city became the capital of the Latin Thessalonian state. In 1224 it became the center of the Thessa-lonian Empire, in 1246, part of the Nicaean Empire, and in 1261, part of the Byzantine Empire. Thessaloniki was captured by the Turks in 1387 and restored to the Byzantine Empire in 1402. In 1430 it became part of the Ottoman Empire. After the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, Thessaloniki was ceded to Greece. In April 1941 the city was captured by fascist Germany; it was liberated in October 1944 by the Greek National Popular Liberation Army.

Still preserved in Thessaloniki are remains of an ancient Roman palace group dating from the early fourth century, including the Arch of Galerius, and citadel walls and towers dating from the end of the fourth century. Thessaloniki has many landmarks of medieval architecture. Dominating the city are a fortress with towers dating from the 14th century and a castle, crowned by the White Tower, dating from the 15th century. Byzantine churches include the churches of St. George (rebuilt at the end of the fourth century from an ancient Roman vaulted structure, with mosaics from the end of the fourth century) and St. Demetrius (fifth to seventh centuries; restored after damage suffered in 1917, 1918–39, and 1945–49; mosaics from the seventh century and frescoes from the tenth through 14th centuries). Two other Byzantine churches are the Basilica of Hagia Sophia (717–741, with mosaics from the ninth century and frescoes from the 11th century) and the Church of the Holy Apostles (1312–15, with frescoes and mosaics from circa 1315). Contemporary structures include the fair complexes (1950’s) and the university (1960’s, architects K. Karandinos and others).


Diehl, C., M. Le Tourneau, and H. Saladin. Les Monuments chrétiens de Salonique. Paris, 1918.
Papachatzes, N. Mnemeia Thessalonikes, 4th ed. Salonika, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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