St. Athanasios Church Thessaloniki

Image by Thanasis Koukopoulos

Thanasis Koukopoulos photo

Thanasis from Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is almost a synonym for Byzantium as the second most important city...

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I am emotionally connected with this church because I was baptised, took the patron saint’s name, and still attend services here. It’s one of the most historic churches in Thessaloniki, but unfortunately, not even my fellow citizens are aware of that, let alone visitors of the city. It is not known when exactly the first building was constructed. However, during the Ottoman period (1430-1912), it was the very center of the Greek community. The most important Greek schools surrounded that iconic monument.

In 1817 the older structure burnt down. The parishioners rebuilt their church within a year! The new building was consecrated on 15th November 1818, as testified by an inscription on the lintel of the southern portal. During the Greek Independence War in the 1820s, the Ottomans turned the church into a jail and let the Greek prisoners die from hunger and thirst.

The icons are really beautiful. I urge you to pay specific attention to the icon that depicts the Annunciation of the Virgin on the right portion of the iconostasis (the structure that separates the sanctuary from the main church and is filled with icons). If you compare it with masterpieces of Netherlandish or Flemish painting, such as the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck, you will realize the affinity between them! Sometimes visitors are even able to listen to awesome Byzantine hymns from the loudspeakers of the interior! Another unique experience in a place of martyrdom and memory, away from crowds!

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Thanasis from Thessaloniki

Thanasis Koukopoulos photo

Thessaloniki is almost a synonym for Byzantium as the second most important city...

Read all articles

Details about this spot

Categories

Address

Egnatia 87, Thessaloniki

Opening Times

Mon - Sun 7:00 - 12:00 & 17:00 - 19:00

Price

Free

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)