Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece and the capital of the Region of Central Macedonia.
It is said that the city was founded in 316/15 BC by Cassander, King of Macedonia, who named the city after his wife and, Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki was the daughter of Philip II of Macedon and sister of Alexander the Great.
During the Roman Period, the city of Thessaloniki became the capital of one of the four Roman regions of Macedonia and was ruled by a Roman Praetor. Tradition has it that Apostle Paul preached Christianity in the area during his second missionary tour. During the Byzantine era Thessaloniki was considered the second most important city after Constantinople, due to its strategic position (its Port is the gateway to the Balkan Peninsula).
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and during the First Balkan War in 1912, Thessaloniki became part of the newly born official Greek State. In 1917, the largest part of the city was destroyed by what is known today as the Big Fire of Thessaloniki.
The massive population exchange that followed the Asia Minor disaster changed the face of the city completely. Refuges from Smyrna, the Coast of Asia Minor, the Black Sea and Pontus Minor arrived in Thessaloniki, which doubled in size.
A black page in the city’s history is the extermination of the largest portion of the Jewish Population during the Nazi Occupation (1941-1944). Up to the second World War Thessaloniki had one of the largest and most thriving Jewish Communities in Greece.