Top Five Greek Macedonia

The name Macedonia is hotly disputed in the Balkans . When the former republic of Yugoslavia named its southern region bordering Greece, Macedonia , Greeks were outraged . They were outraged even more when the region became an independent country Macedonia after the break up of Yugoslavia

The Greeks do not recognise the new country, with its capital in Skopje , by its name and it is still a touchy subject in Greece.

The southern portion of historic Macedonia is the Greek heartland of Ancient Greece- home to the great empire builder, Alexander the Great.


Here are five of its most iconic sites:


1. Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki has a population of over a million and is the biggest city in the northern part of Greece, or Greek Macedonia – homeland of Alexander the Great .

Thessaloniki has been inhabited since pre historic is intertwined with archaeological sites, Byzantine churches and other significant monuments from Greek, Roman and Ottoman past .

Thessaloniki is an open museum. Any walk around this beautiful northern Greek city will reveal history to the traveller. Ancient memories, Roman influences and Byzantine splendour comprise a uniquely charming mosaic. UNESCO has listed 15 early Christian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki as World Heritage Sites.

The city became the second city of the Byzantium Empire under Emperor Justinian and was regarded as the second city of the Ottoman Empire as well after its conquest of Greece in the 16th century . The founder of modern Turkey , Kemal Ataturk , was born here . Ottoman and Turkish influences are still evident in the cuisine of the city , it’s monuments and buildings .

After the Inquisition most Jews from the Iberian peninsula moved here and in the 16th century more than half the population was Jewish .

Multi cultural Thessaloniki is a busy, bustling city at all times of the day but especially at night.


2. Mt Athos

Overlooking the Northern Aegean Sea Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its long Christian presence and historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 AD during the Byzantine era.

Because of its long history of religious importance, the well-preserved agrarian architecture within the monasteries, and the preservation of the flora and fauna around the mountain, the monastic community of Mount Athos was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

The area reserved to the Orthodox Monastic community of Mount Athos with 20 monasteries is only open to religious tourism and only accepts male visitors Mount Athos overlooks the Northern Aegean Sea.


3. My Olympus

In Greek mythology, Olympus is the home of the Greek gods, on Mytikas peak. The mountain has exceptional biodiversity and rich flora. It has been a National Park, the first in Greece, since 1938. It is also a World Biosphere Reserve.

Olympus remains the most popular hiking summit in Greece as well as one of the most popular in Europe. Organized mountain refuges and various mountaineering and climbing routes are available. The usual starting point is the town of Litochoro which lies in the eastern foothills of the mountain, some 100 km from Thessaloniki.


4. Hallidiki

This picturesque coastal region near Mt Athos is reknowned tor its clear waters and golden sand beaches, bays, small islands and green landscapes. Most popular destinations are the Serres nature area and the picturesque cities of Drama, Kavala on the East; and Kastoria and Naousa on the West.


5.Burial site of Phillip II, Vergina

Excavations at Vergina in the late 1970s CE unearthed a cluster of tombs thought to be the burialsite of Philip II (r. 359-336 BCE), the father of Alexander the Great (r. 336-323 BCE), with a wife interred in a vaulted chamber beside him.

Weapons, armour, gold and silver artefacts lay beside precious ossuaries containing cremated bones in these unique tombs close to the necropolis of Aegae, the ancient capital of Macedon.

The Archaeological Site of Philippi, the most important one in the Eastern Macedonian area of Greece, has been on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Monuments since 2016.

The ancient city of Philippi was built by Thassian settlers, called Crenides (Krinides) in 360-359 BC.

In 356 BC King Philip II of Macedonia renamed the city after himself and used it to control the neighbouring gold mines of Mt. Paggaio, where he installed the Royal Mint.

Following the Roman battle of Philippi in 42 BC, in which Octavian and Mark Antony defeated Brutus and Cassius, the city held a leading role of the Roman Empire.

It is claimed that when Apostle Paul visited in 49-50 BC, in his second and third missionary journeys, he founded the first European Christian Church here.

The prevalence of the new religion and the transfer of the Roman Empire’s capital to Constantinople lent glory to the City of Philippi but after an earthquake it declined and fell into ruin during the later Byzantine and Ottoman periods.

At the Archaeological Site of Philippi you can view numerous ruins from the Roman period including fortified walls and the Acropolis, the agora, and part of a complex of public buildings built by Marcus Aurelius (161-180 BC) which was an administrative centre for the Roman Empire and includes a mesmerising 40 metre square mosaic floοr.

There is a large temple complex, dedicated to Apostle Paul, who was held prisoner by the Romans here, and three aisled basilicas dating back to 5th – 6th century.


Destination – Greece