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August 24, 2006 – A journey to Thessaloniki, Greece in Europe

Greek Food Galore

Thessaloniki, one word: delicious.

Of all the places I've been in Greece so far, I'd have to say that Thessaloniki serves up the best Greek cuisine. The second largest city in Greece is known as a foodie's migration center. Ouzerias, which dot the city all over the place, serve delectable, often seafood-oriented mezedes (small dishes - kind of like Spanish tapas or Chinese dim sum).

Ouzerias originally came from the seaport town of Volos. At these seaside restaurants, where many seamen would frequent, each eatery would try to outdo each other in terms of quality, quantity, and taste. Soon, ouzerias became long-time establishments along Greek coastal towns and cities. In Thessaloniki, you can even purchase some absolutely superb tasting mezedes from the local delicatessen or even at the huge outdoor market, Modiano Food Market.

to die for: florina hot pepper, aubergine (eggplant) salad

another to die for: grilled calamari stuffed with spicy chopped up green and red peppers and smoked cheese

seafood mezedes from a local deli at the Modiano Food Market

Not only does Thessaloniki have wonderful Greek cuisine, but it's an awesome city for daylife and nightlife. Every block has an outdoor cafe - hundreds seem to line plazas and the waterfront. Interested in shopping? The whole city has many boutique shops and large department stores alike. One area of the city, Ladadika, used to be a place where pirates and seamen alike frequented for drinking, prostitutes, and such. Now, it's where the action happens at night - restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and even belly dancing shows.

a cafe next to a hamami, Bazaar Bath

a street in the Ladadika district, early morning

As for historical sites, the city hosts several of them, too. Quite a few non-Greek civilizations have influenced Thessaloniki. Being so close to Turkey, remnants of Turkish and Byzantine influence can be seen. Many Byzantine churches and hamamis (Turkish baths) are located around the city.

Thessaloniki has both Turkish and Jewish quarters. Many Jews have migrated to the city in the past. A Roman Agora has been uncovered and is currently under restoration. The most famous landmark, though, probably has to be the White Tower, where prisoners used to be kept.

Byzantine church, Aghia Sofia, similar but smaller to the one in Istanbul

one of the rooms inside the Turkish bath, Bey Hamami Paradeisos (not in use anymore)

renovated theatre at the Roman Agora

the White Tower (currently being renovated)

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