Tales of Thessaloniki

After spending today entirely in and around Thessaloniki here in the Macedonian provincemap 2 of Greece, we are totally impressed with both the city’s ancient heritage and its contemporary profile.  This large city is careful to protect its historical features, but is a bustling, busy modern place as well.  Some of our group went for an evening stroll tonight, finding ourselves part of a great body of humanity, promenading, shopping, dining and hob-nobbing.

Our day began, however, with a longish bus ride; we stopped once along the way from Kavala to view the marble lion of Amphipolis.1 Lion at Amphipolis (480x640)  A great deal of guesswork surrounds this statue:  Where was it originally displayed?  How/why did it find its way to Amphipolis?  Does it have something to do with Alexander the Great’s burial place?  Questions, questions, questions, and not very many definite answers.  Guess we’ll have to come back someday to learn what becomes of all the speculation.

Our weather continued to be rainy, misty and heavily fogged in.  We all just kept trooping; we were so blessed with the week of great weather while we were in Turkey, I think we feel we must now pay our dues : ) .  The view from Thessaloniki’s acropolis was not very bright,

Roughly half of Thessaloniki's agora (market place) is excavated, but a wonderful small theater (odean) is well-preserved there.

Roughly half of Thessaloniki’s agora (market place) is excavated, but a wonderful small theater (odeon) is well-preserved there.

but as we toured, conditions did improve minute by minute until at the end of the day we were in unclouded sunlight.  It was dry and clear enough for us to take seats in the odeon to hear Jeff speak on the challenges and benefits for the Thessaloniki church.3 Jeff teaching in the odeon

With all the historical places to excavate, Thessaloniki has a fine collection of artifacts which we viewed and appreciated on our visits to several museums.

Left to right:  Classic Greek statue head, Greek god and/or hero statues from various temples, household ware from the 1st Century A.D., and Ceasar Augustus, Thessaloniki's Roman "friend".

Left to right: Classic Greek statue head, Greek god and/or hero statues from various temples, household ware from the 1st Century A.D., and Ceasar Augustus, Thessaloniki’s Roman “friend”.

The city, with its rich Greek Orthodox heritage, also hosts many churches,6 From the Thessaloniki acropolis, viewing a Greek Orthodox church along the old city wall (640x480) some of which we saw from afar and one, dedicated to the early Christian martyr Aghios Dimitrios, which we visited.

Our touring ended with a visit to Thessaloniki’s harbor, where we enjoyed a stroll along the shore-line to a HUUUGE statue of Alexander the Great on his horse Bucephalus7 Statue of Alex. the Great on Bucephalus (640x480) (Note the perfectly blue sky behind the statue …. things did clear up wonderfully.)

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