Roman Forum & Agios Dimitrios (St. Demetrius)
Straight up Aristotelous square and crossing Egnatia street you will meet Dikastirion square located in one of the most historic areas of Thessaloniki. At the bottom right of the square (heading north) you will find Bey Hamam, an important Ottoman period monument of the city center since it is the biggest Turkish bath in Greece. It was built by the Sultan Mourat II in 1444 just 14 years after conquest of the city. It operated as “Paradeisos Bathhouse” until 1968 and now operates as an exhibition center. On the opposite bottom of the square you will have the opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful churches of Thessaloniki. Panagia Chalkeon is one of Thessaloniki’s jewels, which was built in 1208 on the site of an ancient temple of Hephaestus. Then, as now, this was the area where the coppersmiths had their workshops and hence the name.
Further North from Dikastirion Square lays the Ancient Agora (Roman Forum), probably the most significant archaeological site of Thessaloniki. It is argued that it was built between 42BC-138AD or that is a work of the Roman Tetrarch period (late 3rd and early 4th century AD). It constituted the economic, political, social and religious center of the city for many years as it was built in the center of the fortified ancient Thessaloniki.
If you continue north and in a quite close walking distance from Ancient Agora you will come across the church of Agios Dimitrios, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It was first built in the early 4th century (306) as a small house and it suffered two fires (7th century & 1917) before taking its final form. Just beneath the church the very interesting Saint Demetrius Crypt museum contains early Christian sculptures of the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries found in the church, Byzantine sculpture from the church, dated to the 11th-14th centuries, and various excavation finds (coins, pottery), dated to the 5th-14th centuries. Nearby, Agios Dimitrios, it is a good idea to visit Alatza Imaret which was built in 1484, and today the building is used for cultural events and exhibitions.
Before ending this route don’t miss the chance to take a look at Bit Bazaar, a hidden square with many antique shops where you can find great bargains. Moreover, many small taverns and restaurants transform the square in a very vibrant and busy place during the night which is very popular mainly among students and young people.