Thessaloniki Museums: Best Museums to Visit and What to Expect

Thessaloniki Museums: Best Museums to Visit and What to Expect

Published On: February 12, 2020Last Updated: May 6, 20247 min readBy

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Thessaloniki has a lot of museums. Let’s see how many there are for you to explore!

Thessaloniki is a wonderful city in the north of Greece and often considered the co-capital of the country – a weird phrase that shows how dearly people perceive this coastal town. Located in the Gulf of Thermaic and with a rich history and past that dates back thousands of years, the museums in Thessaloniki are keepers of its past and a must-see while in the area.

For visitors that are on a tight schedule, knowing which Thessaloniki museums to visit first is important so you don’t miss out on everything the city has to offer.

Here are some of the best museums in Thessaloniki and what to expect from each one of them.

Museum of Byzantine Culture of Thessaloniki

Located behind the City Hall of Thessaloniki and not far from the waterfront, this is one of the best museums to visit during your first visit. The museum has a permanent exhibition with 11 galleries, where the entire history of the Byzantine empire is displayed. The emphasis is on the connection between Thessaloniki and the empire. You will also have the chance to explore aspects of the everyday life of the people back then, as well as the traditions they had.

The thematic sections are dedicated to architecture, arts, burial customs, business, trade, private and public life.

The second thing that is highlighted is the relation between the Byzantine empire and Thessaloniki. The city of course is famous for its Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments, which are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites and are worth exploring if you get the chance. In the museum, you can get a closer look at some of these architectural masterpieces and admire the beautiful creations of that time.

  • Don’t miss! The section with the mosaics from the paleochristian churches. The intricate work and the size of the mosaics, which are displayed in the museum, are incredible, despite the time that has passed. The colours and shapes are so vivid and eye-catching that you might be tempted to spend most of your time in this section.

Related: The Most Amazing Churches In Thessaloniki

Another area to spend more time in is the section with the Christian icons and art. It highlights the connection between Greece and religion and dates back to the Byzantine years when most of the churches were constructed and many of the Christian artworks were first created.

The Museum of Byzantine Culture website

Archaeological Museum Of Thessaloniki

Leaving the Byzantine Museum the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is only a short 5 minute walk. Located on the intersection where Leoforos Stratou meets Tsimiski Street, this is one of the busiest parts of the city and a common meeting point for locals. On one side, the YMCA building stands guard and on the other, you can spot OTE Tower, a 76-metre-tall structure constructed in 1970. The top floor operates as a restaurant and bar to enjoy the view from above.

Related: The Best Green Spaces in Thessaloniki to Discover

The exhibitions of the museum are dedicated to the kingdom of Macedonia. Specifically, you can visit the sections:

  • Prehistoric Macedonia,
  • Macedonia from the 7th century BC until the late antiquity,
  • Thessaloniki, Metropolis of Macedonia,
  • The Gold Of Macedon,
  • Field, Hose, Garden, Grave, and open-air exhibition
  • Don’t miss: the section of the Gold of Macedonia is truly impressive. Here you will be able to see all the gold and silver findings from the kingdom of Macedon. The way they were designed is so detailed, despite the years that have passed, they remain in excellent condition. In particular, the wreaths, which are full of small golden leaves, are breathtaking and it makes sense that these exhibits have the most visitors. You can also see burial assemblages, which accompanied the dead in their afterlife, symposium vessels, and weaponry.

more info about Archaeological Museum Of Thessaloniki Website

The White Tower Museum

You have no doubt spotted this building by the waterfront, but might not be aware that you can climb to the top of that it is a museum. If you can only visit one Thessaloniki museum, make it be this one! Climbing up its 6 floors you will reach the balcony, with the best panoramic view of the city. While most visitors will make the trip just for the view there is more to discover. Each floor is dedicated to an aspect of the city’s everyday life. By visiting all the floors, you will get the full picture of the city’s history from 316 BC to now.

Related: A Guide To The Unesco Sites Of Northern Greece You Have To Visit

Here is a detailed list of each floor:

  • Ground floor: Thessaloniki space and time. Here you can understand the location of Thessaloniki, and the pros and cons of it.
  • 1st floor: Thessaloniki transformations. The main theme here is the city’s infrastructure through the years of its existence.
  • 2nd floor: Monuments and history: this is all about the city’s history.
  • 3rd floor: Thessaloniki: a homeland of people. On this floor, you will learn about the inhabitants of the city from ancient times till nowadays.
  • 4th floor: On the routes of commerce. Here you will learn all about the commerce and economy of Thessaloniki.
  • 5th floor: Leisure and culture. In the amphitheatre located on this floor, you will learn all about the arts and sports of the 19th and 20th centuries in the city.
  • 6th floor: Thessaloniki flavors. This floor is dedicated to the culinary traditions of the city.
  • Balcony: enjoy the view!
  • Don’t miss the balcony and its amazing view. It is worth the many steps you have to climb in order to enjoy the view of the city and the Aegean sea.

more info about the White Tower Museum Website

Related: A Guide to the Annual Festivals of Thessaloniki

Museum of Contemporary Art – MOMus Thessaloniki

Most often known as MOMus, the Metropolitan Organisation of Museums of Visual Arts of Thessaloniki actually consists of 4 buildings, plus a fifth that you will have to visit while in Athens.

The main and most well known of the four in the city is the Museum of Contemporary Art, founded within the grounds of Thessaloniki International Fair near OTE Tower and the rest of the museums. You may also wish to visit two more found near the port. An excellent opportunity for a walk and maybe a stop for a coffee alone Leoforos Nikis that is lined with elegant coffee shops and bars. Here you will find the MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts as well as the MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography.

  • Don’t miss: latest exhibitions and special events!

Related: Artists And People That Have Shaped Greece

Jewish Museum Of Thessaloniki

The Jewish Museum Of Thessaloniki is located not far from the port near the area of Ladadika. It sheds light on the once-massive Jewish community of the city, which almost vanished during the difficult years of WWII. The museum explores the role the Jewish community had in the development of the city and its history.

Related: A Guide To The Unesco Sites Of Northern Greece You Have To Visit

It is important to note that photographs are prohibited on the premises of the museum. On the ground floor, you will find “The Jewish Necropolis”. Outside the eastern city walls, there was the old Jewish Cemetery, which was destroyed by the Germans during the WWII occupation. Some of the tombstones from there are exhibited on this floor of the museum.

The first floor is also where you will learn about aspects of everyday private and public life. The exhibits range from public and private documents, costumes, marriage contracts, and religious objects.

  • Don’t miss: WWII collection. Thessaloniki Jews from all around the world have donated family and school photographs as well as other objects from their ancestors to the museum. The Jewish community was one of the most important in eastern Europe and had a huge impact on the evolution of the city in terms of culture and economy.

more info about Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki Website

  • Here we explored five Thessaloniki museums and what visitors can expect from each one. Which one would you visit first?

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