How many stories about this city can be told during a walk? Its busy streets are full of monuments that speak of emperors, gods and mortals, deadly wars and disasters, victories and celebrations. A multi-faceted city that can feel hospitable while introverted, even awkward sometimes, in the face of its importance and greatness, a city that has assimilated in its identity all the characteristics and influences of the different people that passed through it during the last 23 centuries.
We explore the monuments, heirlooms of the rich historical past of the city – from the Roman times to the city’s recent past – while we create meaningful connections between them in a tour that aims to tell the story of a multicultural city that has had, and still has, a unique and enchanting presence.
Dot2dot in collaboration with the actor Dimitris Papadopoulos, have designed a tour of the Roman past of the city starting from the palace built by Roman Emperor Galerius and ending at the outdoor exhibition of the Archaeological Museum called “Field, House, Garden, Place”.
The arrival of an unexpected guest in town prompts the discovery of an original and enjoyable way to see the traces that the Romans left in Thessaloniki. Having been informed that Thessaloniki was once an important city of the Roman Empire, Asterix decides to visit it and see if the Romans are really as crazy as they seem! Arriving in Thessaloniki a surprise is waiting for him… A tour by the dot2dot team together with a large group of friends is about to take place shortly. Asterix eavesdrops and realises immediately that they know a lot about the Romans! They speak about the Emperor and his palace, the hippodrome (a roman stadium for horse racing) and a triumphal arch, about a mausoleum left empty and about Roman citizens who lived and are buried there. This was the opportunity Asterix was looking for!
* This walk is also suitable for secondary schools.
Urban legends, mysteries, conspiracies… Works of imagination that survived as rumours and spread? Real facts that the human mind misinterpreted as the result of it’s weakness to combine them with the city’s history? Or maybe a little bit of both? Thessaloniki conceals more of these stories than you can imagine! Join a night walk by dot2dot in collaboration with George Mantzouranides through known and unknown neighbourhoods of the city.
Mystery walk Ι
The trip to the Metaphysical starts from the walls of the city, the course of which we follow east, to arrive in the city center and the area of the White Tower (a famous monument and museum). An original night walk and a unique opportunity to get to know hidden aspects of Thessaloniki. Among other things, we tell stories and legends some of which are as old as the city itself. We unwrap urban legends associated with historical monuments and lesser known sites. And of course, we identify occult symbolism even in places where we pass every day as we walk the streets of Thessaloniki.
Mystery walk ΙI
Our trip to the Metaphysical continues. It just follows a different route and theme this time. The setting for this night walk is the area of Ano Poli, a traditional neighbourhood of Thessaloniki. Αpart from discovering the neighbourhood’s unique architecture we also discover the metaphysical beauty of the area. Among other things, we learn about important people who lived and worked there. We bring to light details of the treasures hidden within. Of course we analyze the conspiracy theories that influenced the way people view the area.
A walk in a less known but equally important area of Thessaloniki: the western side includes the industrial monuments and sites associated with the industrial, commercial and economic activity of the city in the 19th and 20th century. Buildings that were once called “The industrial palaces of the 19th century” give us the opportunity to see what was happening in Thessaloniki in the previous centuries. We look at how the machinery worked, how the workers protested and how the city was modernized.
Often the route is enriched with a special musical activity: we have the opportunity to enliven and fill the empty industrial spaces with experimental and industrial sounds in an improvisational live performance from musicians of Granny Records and 1st Floor!
Ano Poli is a mix of narrow stone-paved alleys often leading to dead-ends, traditional houses built in the typical architecture and colours of the area. It contains stone steps, many small squares still used as gathering places, small temples with gardens, tekkes (dervish monasteries) that gave birth to legends, yards, gardens and traditional stores from a different era. The diverse neighborhoods occupied once by Turks, Christians and refugees have all left traces in what is today one of the most beautiful parts of the city. If you haven’t been lost in the alleys of Ano Poli, you haven’t discovered the real city. We have been lost many times ourselves, discovered many of its beauties and included them in our walk.
Another aspect of Thessaloniki is revealed outside the city walls, in the western part of the city. Thessaloniki beyond the walls seemed to have a life of its own, very different to the life that went on inside the city walls. That part of the city was gradually stigmatised by exile, war, poverty, social exclusion and death. The area had a varied population; the first refugees, World War I Allied troops, patients of lunatic asylums, political prisoners held during the World War II, the orders of the Lazarists monks and the Sisters of Mercy resided there… Following a centuries-old custom, the city’s cemeteries were always built beyond the walls, thus housing many sites steeped in history. A Catholic and an Orthodox cemetery in juxtaposition with the largest memorial park in Greece, the Zeitenlik Allied military cemetery, and the neighbouring camp where prisoners were executed during World War II… We will discover and explore all these elements that shaped this area’s identity and come in contact with an almost unknown aspect of the city.
“When elephants dance”, a novel by Sophia Nikolaidou was the trigger for a new walking tour, this time in Thessaloniki during the Greek Civil War, which took place during 1946-1949. The book’s inventive title is inspired by the saying “when elephants dance, the ants pay the price” and it is the best way to put into words what was happening during the time of Civil War in Thessaloniki and in the whole of Greece. The Civil War left its mark on the city, leaving behind thousands of dead people and even more questions. In a decisive moment of the war, Thessaloniki would attract universal attention when in 1948 the dead body of the American journalist and correspondent for the CBS, George Polk, would be found floating in Thermaikos’ gulf. Today, almost after seven decades, it remains an unsolved crime case. Together with a scapegoat who was never vindicated, vested interests, political expediencies and the Press this story is the inspiration for our new walk.
As in S. Nikolaidou’s novel, George Polk’s murder is the center theme of our walk and gives us the chance to get to know Civil War Thessaloniki. People and stories, places and city’s spots mingle in a walk that does not intend to give answers to unsolved crimes of war but to outline the city’s image during that period, connecting it with our city now and so raising new questions…
*The novel is released in Greece by Metaixmio Publications. Since 2015 it also is released in the United States by the title “The Scapegoat” (Melville House Publications).
A walk in Thessaloniki of Byzantine years: the temples, the houses, the streets, the markets and the baths. We construct and deconstruct the narrative of everyday life in this important Byzantine city, which enjoyed a strategic geographic location, was a powerful commercial hub and experienced intense economic activity. We walk around the streets and neighbourhoods of the modern city and discover its Byzantine past, some times dominant and imposing and sometimes hidden by the complex urban structure.
Covering almost 5 centuries of its history, Thessaloniki’s Ottoman past is depicted in almost every street of the modern city and greets its guests the moment they enter it. All the important buildings and activities were gathered around the local mosque, as well as local people and travellers. We become visitors of the city which gradually tore down everything that separated it from the West but retained its eastern character.
We walk along the city’s waterfront and discover its timeless connection with the sea as one can see reflected in the town’s structure and local people’s daily activities. The waterfront is the mirror of all the significant changes that Thessaloniki has experienced throughout its history. From the time when the city erected walls, cutting it off from the rest of the world till the tearing down of the walls to create a new relationship with the sea. From Ernest Hebrard’s vision for an open and modern city, to the significant postwar changes to today’s seafront which makes this area one of the most vital public spaces in the city.