One of the things that I love about Thessaloniki is that even tiny monuments can hide masterpieces. One example is the Chapel of Hosios David in the Upper City (Ano Poli). “Hosios” is a Greek word used for monastic Saints. It is usually translated as “venerable”. The chapel is dedicated to St. David of Thessaloniki, a monk who lived on an almond tree. However, that wasn’t its original name. According to a 9th-century text, the chapel was then dedicated to the Savior. It was a monastery church, built perhaps in the late 5th century.
The apse mosaic, datable approximately to the same period, is one of the finest examples of Byzantine art that ever existed! It represents a young, beardless Christ sitting on a rainbow within a circle that symbolizes His glory and surrounded by the four symbols of the Evangelists (angel for Matthew, eagle for John, lion for Mark, and ox for Luke), as well as by two elder, bearded figures, landscapes, buildings, rivers and a personification of the longest river on the left part.
Except for that mosaic, there are beautiful extant 12th-c. frescoes representing the Nativity and Baptism of the Lord. There have been many alterations in the architecture of the chapel. Its western part does not survive. In the courtyard the view of the city is magnificent! Make sure that you can endure the ascension to Ano Poli, because the roads are very steep!