AGIOS DIMITRIOS – THESSALONIKI

agios_dimitriosAgios Demitrios (Saint Dmitri) was a third century Christian scholar who was martyred by Galerius and whose ghost has apparently appeared at several key battlesites.
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Located within northern Greece (Central Macedonia) and the second-biggest of all the Greek cities, after only Athens, Thessaloniki is often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. Also known as ‘Salonica’, Thessaloniki is the perfect place to indulge yourself in all kinds of luxury and treats, with superb shopping, fine dining, a spirited nightlife, some quality museums, and plenty of concerts and events, especially during the summer season. There are a number of sights which really do enhance the overall appearance of Thessaloniki, namely its historical White Tower, Byzantine city walls, traditional Greek architecture, and its pretty waterfront, which is lined with cafes and shops. For the latest in the way of tourism, Thessaloniki’s tourist information centre is on hand and resides within the Makedonia passenger terminal of the port, next to to the Ladadika district. The significance of Agios Demitrios has led to the construction of Greece’s largest church on his birthplace in Thessaloniki. The church was converted into a mosque by the Turks, who plastered over its interior walls. When these were uncovered after the return of the church to the Greeks, it was discovered that the church also possessed the finest mosaics in Greece. The interior of the church is quite impressive and deserves more than a bit of time. Somtimes it can be a bit difficult to fully take in the beauty of the artwork, as this is a popular stop for bus tours (there were two, one from Bulgaria and the other from Poland, when I was there). Nevertheless, inside you will find exquisite icons and lots of gold, as well as the relics of Agios Dimitrios. It is a common practice for believers to kiss the case containing his relics and also to slip sheets of paper with prayers into the cracks.