A must-see gem of Thessaloniki is a tiny church in Ano Poli (Upper City) district, hidden behind an enclosure. Its name is Agios Nikolaos Orfanos (St. Nicholas of the Orphans). That name is probably connected with the philanthropic activity of St. Nicholas, a holy bishop, who both East and West are very familiar with. The church was built in the early 14th c. by the Serbian king Stephen Milutin, who married a Byzantine princess and, according to the written sources, erected a certain number of palaces and churches in Thessaloniki. Presumably, St. Nicholas was a monastery church.
Regarding the exterior, the visitor is welcome to admire the various decorative patterns of the masonry, a common feature of late Byzantine architecture. The courtyard, filled with greenery, is truly an earthly paradise, a place where your body and soul can rest. But the actual reason for paying a visit to that monument is the extant gorgeous pictorial cycle. Byzantine painting is a transcendental art, which aims to transfer the believers or any viewer, to the supernatural, divine world. And you can experience that feeling only if you visit a Byzantine church, like St. Nikolaos Orfanos! So, what are you waiting for?