The Fortress Walls of Thessaloniki

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The Fortress Walls of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki, as seen in historical evidence, was fortified with defensive fortress walls, immediately after its foundation by the king of Macedonia, Cassander, in 315 BC. King Antigonus chose Thessaloniki as the safest place to defend himself against the incursions of King Pyrrhus of Epirus (285 BC). Later, in 279 BC, outside the city walls, he defeated the terrifying attacks of the Celtic invaders. In this battle, the king of Macedonia, Ptolemy, was killed defending Salonica.

The walls saved the city of Thessaloniki in the first century BC. According to the roman orator Cicero, who was in Thessaloniki in 58 BC when the barbarians of the Thracian tribes laid siege to the city, he was driven out of Rome in 58 BC.

To defend the city, the Thessalonians were quickly forced to build several fortifications on the Acropolis, today's Upper City. The city's secure walls also served as a place of defense for Roman commanders, during the Roman Civil War (49-48 BC).

The fortress walls of Thessaloniki

There were no serious works on the city walls during the Roman period, only additions to and reconstructions of the walls during the Hellenistic period. Significant reconstruction of the walls may have been carried out around the Golden Gate (now Democracy Square).

An arch of honor was placed against the wall in 42 BC to welcome the victors of the Battle of Philippi, Antony and Octavius. Similar reconstructions were made at the same location in the first century while in the eastern wall, at Cambos (Othitirod ), Emperor Galerius enlarged the walls of the city square to create a large complex of palaces (early 4th century).

The fortifications of Thessalonica have been expanded by later works, mainly in the coastal area, in the time of Constantine, who made the city the main base in the war against his son-in-law Licinius (A.D. 324). In the same century, the fortification and reconstruction of the walls was undertaken under the reign of Emperor Julian the Apostate in order to defend the city against the frequent barbarian raids.

Important reinforcements were made to the city walls of Thessaloniki during the reign of Theodosius (379-395 A.D.). Thessaloniki became the temporary residence of the emperor when he waged war against the invading armies of the Goths. Theodosius commissioned the fortification of the city walls, according to the inscription on the eastern part of the wall.

Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki

Macedonia Airport is relatively small, but has all the necessary infrastructure. Its total area is 32 thousand m2, there are two runways (2.410 and 2.440 km) and one terminal. At the same time, the high capacity of the latter - up to 4 million passengers a year - is surprising. The construction of the second terminal is not far off, although there is no specific timeframe yet. It is difficult to get lost on the territory, besides you can always ask the employees for help. Although they look austere, but, according to passenger reviews, they are pleasant and friendly to talk to. Everyday many people are using taxi Thessaloniki airport.

After the Saracen conquest of the city in 904, the city walls were rebuilt with more additions and fortifications, the city became a safer place.

When Emperor Basil II (976-1025) took Thessaloniki as a field of battle against the Bulgars, he made many additions and made significant repairs to the city walls. One part of the eastern wall, however, remained relatively weak, even though there were continuous attacks, and the Normans who came from the sea in 1185 entered the city at that point. Around 1230-1232 the famous tower on the north side of the Acropolis was built.

Later, in the 14th century, as the city was under attack by the Catalans, Serbs and Turks, the walls were supplemented with structures in the coastal areas (1316). In 1349, the Empress Anna Paleologina came to power, new fortifications were built in the eastern wall and a new gate to the Acropolis was opened. The gate, near the Trigonou tower, has an inscription stating that the gate was built during the reign of the Holy and Powerful Lady of the Palaeologus family.

During the Venetian occupation of the city (1423-1430), efforts were made to strengthen the Thessaloniki defense with new designs on the walls. The Turks were preparing to attack the city.

During this era, according to archaeologists, two towers were built which are preserved in the city today. These are the famous White Tower of the city, and the tower of Trigonou in the upper town. Similar towers of smaller size were built in the Byzantine period.

The walls of Thessaloniki formed a quadrangle with two vertical sides to the sea (the eastern and western walls) and two parallel sides (the coastal wall and the walls on the Acropolis hill). The walls are 8 km long and their height averages 10 to 12 metres.

The perimeter of the wall was double in some places. Two of the walls were defensive against invaders; the outer wall had a moat dug in front of it, filled with seawater and had wooden bridges that were destroyed during the war.

 

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