Churches of Thessaloniki
Church of the Rotonda © Daniel Tellman
Thessaloniki is famous for its numerous beautiful churches, large and small, dating from various eras, most notably Byzantine. Most are situated in the Upper City area, which is a warren of quaint, narrow cobbled streets and has become a fashionable quarter favoured by local city slickers as well as captivated tourists. Some of the most important churches include the church of Saint George, a domed building dating from the 4th century, which was originally the mausoleum for Roman Emperor Galerius; Agia Sofia, the domed cruciform church built in the 8th century that is a copy of the Agia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople); Agfi Apostoli, from the 14th century, with its rich Byzantine decorations; and the 14th-century Agios Nikolaos Orfanos with its beautiful frescoes. The churches in Thessaloniki are open to visitors but often close in the afternoons so it is best to visit in the morning if possible. Sightseers are expected to dress appropriately and to act respectfully in these places of worship; if you want to take photographs be sure to ask permission beforehand. Some churches will not admit sightseers during services but tourists are always welcome to participate in services should they wish.