This city has so many museums, how many have you seen?
Every 1st Sunday of December the archaeological sites and museums of Greece are open to the public free of charge. With this in mind, I decided to visit as many museums as I could. The day was perfect, the sun was up, even though we are in the heart of winter, and the city was full of people strolling around. And here was the challenge: how many museums could I visit in Thessaloniki in one day on foot?
Museum of Byzantine Culture of Thessaloniki
My first stop was the Museum of Byzantine Culture. The museum has a permanent exhibition with 11 galleries, where the entire history of the Byzantine empire is displayed. The emphasis is on the connection between Thessaloniki and the empire. The visitor has the chance to see every aspect of the everyday life of the people back then, as well as the traditions they had. The thematic sections are dedicated to architecture, arts, burial customs, business, trade, private and public life.
The second thing that is highlighted is the relation between the Byzantine empire and Thessaloniki. The city of course is famous for its Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments, which are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites and are worth exploring if you get the chance. In the museum, you can get a closer look at some of these architectural masterpieces and admire the beautiful creations of that time.
- What impressed me most: The section with the mosaics from the paleochristian churches is the one that got my attention. The intricate work and the size of the mosaics, which are displayed in the museum, are incredible, despite the time that has passed. The colors and shapes are so vivid and eye-catching that I spent most of my time in this section.
The second thing that got my attention was the section with the Christian icons and art. As you may already know, the connection between Greece and religion is quite important. This dates back from the Byzantine years when most of the churches were constructed and many of the Christian artworks were created.
more info about Museum of Byzantine Culture
opening hours: Opening hours from 18/4/2019 until 15/11/2019:
Daily (Monday to Sunday) 8:00 -20:00
Opening hours from 16/11/2019 until 31/03/2020:
Daily (Monday to Sunday) 9:00 -16:00
adress: 2 Stratou Avenue, Thessaloniki
tickets: Main ticket: 8 euros Reduced ticket: 4 euros
Archaeological Museum Of Thessaloniki
Leaving the Byzantine Museum behind and walking a short 5 minute distance, I found myself in front of the Archaeological Museum Of Thessaloniki. Here, I found a much bigger queue compared to the Museum of Byzantine Culture but it was still relatively quiet.
The exhibitions of the museum are dedicated to the kingdom of Macedonia. Specifically, you can visit the sections:
- Prehistoric Macedonia,
- Macedonia from the 7th century BC until the late antiquity,
- Thessaloniki, Metropolis of Macedonia,
- The Gold Of Macedon,
- Field, Hose, Garden, Grave, and open-air exhibition
- What impressed me most: the section of the Gold of Macedonia was the one that left the biggest impression. Here you will be able to see all the gold and silver findings from the kingdom of Macedon. The way they were designed is so detailed, that despite the years that have passed, they remain masterpieces. In particular, the wreaths, which are full of small golden leaves, are breathtaking and it makes sense that these exhibits had the most visitors. You can also see burial assemblages, which accompanied the dead in their afterlife, symposium vessels, and weaponry.
more info about Archaeological Museum Of Thessaloniki
opening hours: Summer (April 15 – November 14) 8:00 – 20:00 daily
Winter (November 15 – April 14) 9:00 – 16:00 daily
address: 6 Manoli Andronikou Street, 546 21 Thessaloniki
tel.: +30 2313 310201 & -301
Ticket price: €8.00 (reduced: €4.00)
From November 1st until March 31st reduced ticket price (4,00 €) applies to all guests.
The White Tower Museum
My third stop was the White Tower, the most significant monument of Thessaloniki. Climbing up its 6 floors you will reach the balcony, with the best panoramic view of the city. While most visitors will make the trip just for the view you now know that is not all there is. Each floor presents an aspect of the city’s everyday life. By visiting all the floors, you will get a full presentation of the city’s history from 316 BC to now.
Here is a detailed list of each floor:
- Ground floor: Thessaloniki space and time. Here you can understand the location of Thessaloniki, and the pros and cons of it.
- 1st floor: Thessaloniki transformations. The main theme here is the city’s infrastructure through the years of its existence.
- 2nd floor: Monuments and history: this is all about the city’s history.
- 3rd floor: Thessaloniki: a homeland of people. On this floor, you will learn about the inhabitants of the city from ancient times till nowadays.
- 4th floor: On the routes of commerce. Here you will learn all about the commerce and economy of Thessaloniki.
- 5th floor: Leisure and culture. In the amphitheatre located on this floor, you will learn all about the arts and sports of the 19th and 20th centuries in the city.
- 6th floor: Thessaloniki flavors. This floor is dedicated to the culinary traditions of the city.
- Balcony: enjoy the view!
- What impressed me most: undoubtedly the balcony and its amazing view. It is worth the many steps you have to climb in order to enjoy the view of the city and the Aegean sea.
more info about the White Tower Museum
Opening hours: from 18/4/2019 until 15/11/2020 Daily 8:00 -20:00
from 16/11/2019 until 31/03/2020 Daily 9:00 -16:00
Maximum number of guests 70 people
– Tel.: +30 2310 267 832
Museum of Contemporary Art
Leaving the White Tower behind, I walked the seafront until I reached the port of Thessaloniki. There I visited the 7th Biennale of Contemporary Art. The exhibition STASIS invites the audience to stop and admire the artworks of 50 international and Greek artists.
- What impressed me most: was the place, Honestly, I am not the most informed person on contemporary art. So, all the exhibits had my full attention and I tried to understand the meaning the artists wanted to give.
Jewish Museum Of Thessaloniki
My last stop was at the Jewish Museum Of Thessaloniki. The city used to have a large Jewish community, which almost vanished during the difficult years of WWII. The museum explores the role the Jewish community had in the development of the city and its history.
Unfortunately, photographs are prohibited on the premises but I will try to describe the exhibitions that I visited. On the ground floor you will find the “The Jewish Necropolis”. Out of the eastern city walls, there was the old Jewish Cemetery, which was destroyed by the Germans during the WWII occupation. Some of the tombstones from there are exhibited on this floor of the museum.
On the first floor, you will learn about aspects of everyday private and public life. You get to know how people lived through public and private documents, costumes, marriage contracts, and religious objects.
- What impressed me the most: the collection from WWII. Thessaloniki Jews from all around the world have donated family and school photographs as well as other objects from their ancestors to the museum.The Jewish community was one of the most important in eastern Europe and had a great impact on the evolution of the city in terms of culture and economy. It is important to remember and be educated about the people that helped this city and remember the attrocities under which they died simply for who they were.
more info about Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 09:00-14:00
Wednesday: 09:00-14:00 and 17:00-20:00
adress: 11, Agiou Mina Str. 54 624 Thessaloniki, Greece
Τel. +30 2310 250406 , +30 2310 250407
- Let’s talk about my conclusions! The challenge was successful. In one morning, I visited 5 museums of Thessaloniki with no means of transportation, just walking from one location to another. In addition, I learned a ton about history, tradition, arts, and the pulse of the city. Now, how about you? Let us know in the comments below, which one of the museums in Thessaloniki would be your first choice?