Thessaloniki stands in the heart of the Balkans and takes the name from the step sister of Alexander the Great and was established by Cassander, her husband, in 356 BC. Very soon the city became very populous and under the Romans in 148 BC became the capital of roman providence of Macedonia. St. Paul passed and preached in Thessaloniki during his second trip (50 BC).
The impregnable walls kept the city free until 904 when Saracene Pirates took the city. In 1185 and 1430 the city passed successively to the hands of the Normands and the Turks. 1492 is the crucial year for the history of Thessaloniki because of the arrival of the Sephardic Jews from Spain followed from more Jews arriving from central Europe, giving the city the name mother Israel or second Jerousalim.
The 50 synagons spread all over the city which was divided in three sections: the Jewish by the port, the Greek by Rotunda and the Ottomans in Ano Poly (the Upper city). The majority of the Jewish population perished in 1943 after the deportation to Auswitz, Birgenau and Bergen Belsen while in the time in 1912-13 ant the Balkan wars the city was liberated and joined the Greek state.
Today the second city of Greece boast with the two universities, the international fair, the film festival, the Dimitria festival and all the cultural activities at go on all year round.