The Churches of Thessaloniki

The churches of Thessaloniki are remarkable and include UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, Byzantine masterpieces, and a church dating from the 5th century.

ThessalonikiThessaloniki

It would be possible to spend an entire day visiting the churches of Thessaloniki and still not see them all. There are churches large and small, churches old and churches comparatively new, and seeing them is to take a walk through the history of Thessaloniki.

The churches in Thessaloniki are so remarkable that UNESCO declared its Byzantine churches to be World Heritage Monuments in 1988.

If we limited ourselves to listing only the top ten churches of Thessaloniki then we would be missing out some gems. Here, then, is a list of the most notable churches in Thessaloniki, in alphabetical order, and a little about each of them and where to find them. There are of course many other churches in Thessaloniki, but this is our choice of the ones most worth seeing.

Our Pick of the Guides to Greece

Rough-Guide-Greece-2022.png

The Churches of Thessaloniki

Agia Aikaterini

St Catherine’s Church is near the junction of Olympiados with Lampousiadou in Ano Poli, or the Upper City. It dates from the 14th century and has some original murals. These were covered in plaster when the Turks turned it into a mosque but were uncovered again during the 1947-51 restoration of the church.

Agia Sofia

Agia Sofia Church in ThessalonikiAgia Sofia Church in Thessaloniki

Agia Sofia was built in the middle of the 7th century and was a copy of Agia Sofia in Istanbul. It’s considered one of the most important churches in the Greek Orthodox religion, and parts of it date from a previous church that was built here in the 5th-6th centuries. It also has remarkable murals which date from the 8th-11th centuries. It was turned into a mosque in 1523 but returned to Christian worship in 1912.

Agios Dimitrios

This huge edifice is the most famous Byzantine church in the city. St Dimitrios is Thessaloniki’s patron saint and his church was built in the 7th century on the ruins of a 5th-century basilica. It was destroyed by a fire in 1917 but restored and re-opened in 1948. Some mosaics survive from the 5th and 6th centuries, and don’t miss a visit to the crypt, which was where St Dimitrios was martyred in the early 4th century.

The Crypt in Agios Dimitrios Church in ThessalonikiThe Crypt in Agios Dimitrios Church in Thessaloniki

Agios Gregorios Palamas

The Holy Metropolitan Church of Agios Gregorios Palamas, which is near the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle, was built in 1914 in Byzantine style. The original 8th-century church on this site was destroyed in a fire in 1890.

Agios Minas

Located at Ionos Dragoumi 10, just off Tsimiski, the original church on this site was built in the 8th century, though the present building dates from 1890. It was one of the few churches in Thessaloniki which was not turned into a mosque by the Turks but remained a place of Christian worship.

Agios Nikolaos Orphanos

You’ll find this church on Apostolou Pavlou, near the junction with Koronis. It was built in the early 14th century and many fine original murals can still be seen. It’s considered one of the best-preserved churches in Thessaloniki, and is also worth visiting for the lovely grounds.

Agios Panteleimonas

This church is on the eastern side of Iasonidou, north of the junction with Egnatia. It is thought to date from the late 13th or early 14th centuries, and some of its original murals can still be seen.

Church of the Holy Twelve Apostles

At the western end of Olympou stands one of the oldest churches in the city. It was built in 1310-14 and was originally part of a monastery, of which very little survives. During Turkish rule it was converted into a mosque, a minaret was added, and some of the original murals and mosaics were covered in plaster.

Church of the Virgin Mary Acheiropoietos

At Agias Sofias 56, north of its junction with Egnatia, this imposing building is on the site of what were the Roman public baths, and the first church was founded here in the 5th century AD. There are mosaics which date back to the 5th century as well as some 13th-century murals.

Hosios David

Mosaic in Hosios David Church in Thessaloniki showing Christ without a beardMosaic in Hosios David Church Showing Christ without a Beard

It is worth making the climb to the upper part of the city just to see this church. It is tiny but wonderfully atmospheric, and dates from the 5th or 6th century. Some original mosaics remain along with others from the 12th-14th centuries, including a rare depiction of Christ without a beard. You also get good city views from here.

Moni Vlatadon Church

Close to Hosios David is the only active Byzantine monastery in Thessaloniki. It was built in the 14th century and some of those original murals remain. Good city views, too.

Panagia Chalkeon

The Church of Panagia Chalkeon is on Chalkeon at its junction with Egnatia and is impossible to miss with a small park in front of it. It was built in 1128 on a site where a temple had previously been in the chalkos or coppersmiths’ district.  In 1430 during the Turkish occupation it was turned into a mosque.

Profitis Ilias

The church of the Prophet Elijah was built from the late 13th to the mid-14th centuries. It’s on Olympiados in the Upper City, near the junction with Varvaki and is an impressive sight with its many arches and domes. Some of the original murals can still be seen.

Other Thessaloniki Pages

  • The ten best day trips from Thessaloniki include visits to Mount Athos and Mount Olympus, and to archaeological sites such as Dion, Pella, and Vergina

    Ten Best Day Trips from Thessaloniki

    The ten best day trips from Thessaloniki include visits to Mount Athos and Mount Olympus, and to archaeological sites such as Dion, Pella, and Vergina

  • The Greek city of Thessaloniki in Macedonia has an array of wonderful museums and art galleries, and here's twelve of the best.

    Museums of Thessaloniki

    The Greek city of Thessaloniki in Macedonia has an array of wonderful museums and art galleries, and here's twelve of the best.

  • UNESCO has made Thessaloniki a City of Gastronomy, under its Creative Cities network, the only city in Greece to be acknowledged for its unique food and drink.

    Thessaloniki: City of Gastronomy

    UNESCO has made Thessaloniki a City of Gastronomy, under its Creative Cities network, the only city in Greece to be acknowledged for its unique food and drink.

  • Greece Travel Secrets picks the best time to visit Thessaloniki, with a monthly summary of the weather, plus hotel prices and special events to help plan a visit.

    Best Time to Visit Thessaloniki

    Greece Travel Secrets picks the best time to visit Thessaloniki, with a monthly summary of the weather, plus hotel prices and special events to help plan a visit.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Greece Bans Sunbeds, Umbrellas, Bars on 198 Beaches

    Sunbeds, umbrellas, and all sorts of constructions have been banned on 198 beaches across Greece according to a joint ministerial decision signed this week by Economy & Finance Minister Kostis Hatzida…

    Read More

  2. 4 Guesthouses in Zagori that Are Worth Visiting

    Amidst the mountains and spectacular scenery, these four traditional guesthouses in the heart of Zagori, Epirus, offer the very best in Greek hospitality.

    Read More

  3. Greece’s 10 Highest Mountains

    From myth-laden peaks to rugged alpine trails, we explore ten of Greece's highest mountains, where untamed beauty and boundless adventure meet.

    Read More

  4. Paris 2024 Olympic Flame Lit at Ancient Olympia, Countdown to Games Begins

    The Olympic flame that will be burning for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games this summer was lit in Ancient Olympia on Tuesday, April 16. Located in western Peloponnese, Ancient Olympia is one of the most…

    Read More

  5. April 17 Greece National Strike to Affect Public Transport, Ferry Travel

    Public transportation in Athens as well as ferry travel in Greece will be disrupted on Wednesday, April 17, due to a 24-hour strike called by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the cou…

    Read More

  6. The Ikaria Way

    the-ikaria-way-front-and-back-cover-900.webp
    Greece Travel Secrets reviews the Greek cookbook, The Ikaria Way by Diane Kochilas, containing 100 delicious plant-based recipes.

    Read More

  7. Greece Announces Steep Fines for Beach Access Violations

    The Greek Finance Ministry announced this week that it would taking strict measures including fines of up to 60,000 euros to ensure that Greece’s beaches are always accessible to the public. Fines ran…

    Read More

  8. Cyprus-Greece Ferry Connection to Start on May 29

    For a third year in a row, the ferry service linking Cyprus with Greece is scheduled to resume operations on May 29. The Cypriot-flagged Daleela, which can transport 400 passengers and 200 vehicles, w…

    Read More

  9. Greece Aiming to Include Knossos on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

    The Region of Crete announced this week that all actions had been taken to include the world-famous archaeological site of Knossos on Crete on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

    Read More

  10. Two Top Floors of Athens Hotel Blocking Acropolis View Shut Down

    The Greek Tourism Ministry announced this week that it had sealed off the two top floors and the rooftop bar of a hotel in the center of Athens which were blocking views to the Acropolis.

    Read More