Thessaloniki is home to many museums with interesting exhibits. At the top of this list is the Archaeological Museum which highlights the history of Ancient Macedonia through a great collection of ancient findings dating from the 6th century. The Byzantine Museum hosts the richest collection of exhibits from the Byzantine period to the Turkish occupation.
At the town, you shall visit other museums as well, such as the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art that displays many artworks and organizes many exhibitions. Museums that emphasize in the history of Macedonia are the Museum of Macedonian Struggle, the Balkan Wars Museum and the Ataturk Museum.
The Cinema Museum is unique of its kind offering much insight into the history of film in Greece. It hosts various exhibits including tapes, posters and cinema machinery from the private collection of Nikos Bilis, a known cinematographer in Thessaloniki.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki opened its doors in September 2006, after the restoration of the old building. Its aim is to present the way of life and socialization of the tribes that lived in Thessaloniki and the wider region of Macedonia from the prehistoric times till present. The permanent exhibitions of the Archaeological Museum are dedicated to various aspects and periods of time concerning Macedonia. The museum also organizes educational programmes for university students and kids.
The Museum of Macedonian Struggle is housed in a 19th-century Neoclassical building designed by the famous German architect Ernst Ziller, in the center of Thessaloniki. Through valuable exhibits, the Museum presents the fights of the Macedonians and generally people from northern Greece to set free from the Ottoman rule and incorporate to the Greek State.
The two Balkan Wars that took place in the early 20th century is very important for Thessaloniki and the region of Macedonia in general. In fact, during the 1st Balkan War in 1912, the town was set free by the Ottoman rule that had lasted for about five centuries. To celebrate such historical events, the Museum of the Balkan Wars was created in 1999. It is located in a restored mansion at Yefira, a village about 25 km from Thessaloniki.
The Museum of Byzantine Culture was established in 1989 and it opened to public in 1993. Today, the museum has 11 rooms in total that host permanent and temporary exhbitions as well as educational programmes. Some exhibits of the Byzantine Museum are housed in the White Tower, the symbol of Thessaloniki.
The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in the Helexpo Exhibition Centre, on Egnatia st. The aim of this museum is to promote Greek and international contemporary art throughout the world and to make a contribution to the Greek cultural life.
The aim of the museum is to collect, preserve and display items related to the history of cinema in Greece. The museum is based on the collection of Nikos Bililis, a cinematographer from Thessaloniki.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki is housed in the center of the town, in one of the few Jewish buildings that survived the great fire of 1917. Its exhibits aim to present visitors the vast history and culture of the Jews that lived in Thessaloniki since the 15th century. The first Jews came to Thessaloniki from Spain in 1492. They flourished for many centuries and integrated with the local life. However, 96% of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki was extinguished by the Nazis in the Second World War. Today, the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki is very small.
Old Town Ano Poli
In an elegant, three-storey house that dates from 1870, in the center of the Old Town of Thessaloniki, there is the house where Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey was born in 1881 when the town was still under the Turkish rule. The Municipality of Thessaloniki donated the house to the Turkish state in 1935, which converted it into a museum. Visitors can see the rooms where the Turkish leader was born and grew up till 1912 when the town was set free and incorporated into the Greek State.