Why Thessaloniki is so special

by Anja Mis - 5 years, 4 months ago

Since I have probably a zillion stories to tell about this vibrant hipped city and my crazy experiences in it, I wouldn't know where to start! What should I mention first? My favorite part of it, the beach, or Paralia, as Greeks call it, which gives you the opportunity to lazily stroll, bike or dynamically jog from the old port to the modern Opera house, in Kalamaria? The numerous cafes that are always full of people giving you the chance to socialize with friendly locals, and taste the famous cold Greek coffee, Frape -a Thessaloniki invention-? Or the old-city neighborhood, Kastra, with its small alleys and tiny stone-paved roads which give you a stunning view of the city sunsets and the chance to have a perfect romantic night walk? What makes Thessaloniki special is this unique blend between the Orient and Occident, an atmosphere evident everywhere, specifically in the scent of the different spices and herbs sold in the Kapani, the old bazaar still operating in the center of the city. Being the second largest city in Greece, with a close to 80.000 student population, a long history, stunning byzantine, roman and ottoman architecture, and a nightlife that gives you the opportunity to party from dusk till dawn, regardless of your partying tastes, Thessaloniki is a must for both foreign and Greek travelers. Given the fact that it is the 2014 European Youth Capital and that it is now one of Ryanair's cheap-flight destinations, this is the year one should definitely pay a visit, as numerous events and happenings are going take place, and flying here, as well as staying, won't cost much. Its a city that suits everybody, both due to its multicultural face , because of its history of Muslim, Hebrew and Christian inhabitants and the traditional Greek elements found it in, and also due to its growing alternative scene, in terms of art, sports, music, festivals and so forth. One can visit Thessaloniki's numerous sightseeings, or the Biennale exhibition taking place each September, or even drink a beer until 10 am at the famous Berlin bar after partying in underground parking lots. One can go to the dam in Thermi and hike till Planatakia, of Panorama, or even go have a delicious steak at the sea-side tsipouradika in Peraia, and afterwards, if its summer time, swim. Having spent my childhood and adolescent years here, before moving to the UK, France, and Croatia, I decided that there is nothing equivalent to Thessaloniki's hip, lively and at the same time cosy atmosphere, and chose to return to my hometown. I can't express the gratitude I feel for living here. Thessaloniki provides you with everything a Western city has to offer, together with a hint of Oriental-ism evident in some of its neighborhoods, such as Ladadika, or at Bouzoukia, the traditional live-greek music playing clubs. Having spent countless hours walking the Paralia, even more hours philosophizing at Kastra, with a background panoramic view of the city, or at the student hangout bars in Rotonda, drinking cheap raki, I now know that I wouldn't exchange the opportunity to re-live these experiences with anything else the rest of the world has to offer me! Its my favorite city worldwide, and I am proud for living here !

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