About Thessaloniki:Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece with a population of 1,000,000 inhabitants, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It stretches over twelve kilometers in a bowl formed by low hills facing a bay that opens into the Gulf Thermaikos. It was founded about 315 B.C., on a site of old prehistoric settlements going back to 2300 B.C., by Cassander, King of Macedonia, and was named after his wife, Thessaloniki, sister of Alexander The Great. Since then, Thessaloniki has become the chief city of Macedonia and its most important commercial port. In Roman times it was visited by Saint Paul, who preached the new religion, and who later
addressed his two well-known epistles (the oldest written documents of Christian literature) to the Christians of Thessaloniki. The Byzantine times In Byzantine times, Thessaloniki became a cultural and artistic centre second only to Constantinople in the whole empire. Great names are closely associated with the city's Byzantine past - the jurist Peter Magister, the epigrammatist Macedonius Hypatus, the Hymnographer Archbishop Joseph, Leo the Mathematician, the historian John Cameniates, the prolific Homeric scholar and humanist Eustathius ( Archbishop of Thessaloniki), the philologist Thomas M. Magister, the teacher of law and editor of the "Hexabiblus" Constantine Armenopoulos, the theologian Gregory Palamas ( Archbishop of Thessaloniki), to mention but a few prominent scholars.
The missionary brothers Cyril and Methodius also have a special place in the history of the period; they invented and used the Cyrillic Alphabet to bring literacy and Christianity to the Slavs. Cultural contribution After the fall of Thessaloniki (1430) and later of Constantinople (1453), the two major cultural centres of the East, two of Thessaloniki's greatest humanists, Theodore Gazes and Andronicus Callistus, sought refuge in the West where they transplanted the Greek language and literature. Despite the unfavourable conditions prevailing during the Turkish occupation, there were Greek schools in Thessaloniki that struggled, successfully to a large degree, to preserve the Greek language and literature until the city was liberated in October 26, 1912, the anniversary of its patron saint, St. Demetrius. In the nineteenth century the long scholarly tradition of the city was continued by Margaritis Demetsas, a historian, archeologist, and geographer as well as headmaster of thecity Grammar School and his pupil P. Papageorgiou, later a prominent philologist.