Feeling the spirit of the old city; Ano Poli (Upper Town) in Thessaloniki.

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

November 23, 2022

As you all know one of my favourite cities in the whole world, is the city where I spent the best 5 years of my student-life, and of course that's Thessaloniki. Being emotionally attached to this one, I usually fail to describe & give suggestions objectively; to me the whole city is just great and everything is definitely worth visiting! However, this time I’m here to talk about a place that is objectively and subjectively beautiful! No doubt! And that’s the upper town of Thessaloniki, known in Greek as “Ano Poli”.

The different neighbourhoods are little worlds unto themselves, and when you climb up to the Byzantine walls and take in the whole of Thessaloniki at sunset, you see what a sprawling, organic city it is.

As previously mentioned in my posts, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece definitely one of the most popular and interesting destinations of the country. It’s one of the most important ports of the Balkans, and yeah that means that the city is surrounded by water, fact that makes it extremely blue and picturesque. While visiting Thessaloniki you get the feeling that it’s a college town…and yes it is! It’s one of the top students’ destinations since it offers a variety of education options combined with the wild night life – honestly the city never sleeps-, with the good food and of course with the great weather. It’s known as the city of “halara” (χαλαράαααα) – relaxed lifestyle- since there’s always enough time for everything and the stress is missing out from people’s lives.

On the north of Thessaloniki lies the Upper or Old Town, the only part of the city that survived the big fire of 1917. The Upper Town will make you feel as if time stood still; you’ll immediately be stricken by its unique style, so different from that of the rest of Thessaloniki that will travel you back to the city’s Byzantine past. Narrow streets and lovely small gardens with children playing in front of wide open doors will take you back to the past and help you relax far from the city’s noise!

Wander through the narrow winding streets with low houses of the traditional Balkan architecture, the uphills, drink coffee at traditional cafés and enjoy the spectacular view of the city embracing the sea.

Because of its location, it is where the city’s main fortress and other defensive structures (Eptapirgion) were built during the Byzantine and Ottoman period. A large part of the Byzantine Walls that surrounded Thessaloniki have been well preserved, adding to the beauty of the city’s Acropolis.

Ano Poli can be either reached on foot or by bus, but a walk towards it is definitely recommended! The spectacular views of the city embracing the sea as well as the traditional Balkan architecture will guarantee you a delightful promenade in the city’s historical neighbourhood!

At the same time, do not miss out on the numerous little taverns with traditional cuisine of Minor Asia and Macedonia that reflect the area's history and cultural identity, at very reasonable prices. You can also get yourself some souvenirs of your visit in Thessaloniki in small tourist shops that are awaiting you!

Before reaching the wall don’t forget to visit Agios Nikolaos Orphanos, one more site inscribed in the Unesco Heritage List. On your the way back from Ano Poli to the city center you will have the opportunity to visit the Ataturk Museum**, the building where Kemal Ataturk, the “father of Turks”, was born.

Don’t wait more! Explore the city’s old town along with me on this page!

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