Thessaloniki, a lively modern city overlooking the Gulf of Thermaikos, is the capital of Macedonia and second largest city of modern Greece .
The White Tower (in Greek Lefkos Pyrgos), which dominates the seafront promenade and is one of the last remainders of the 15th century fortifications, has become Thessaloniki ’s unofficial emblem.
In 1997 the city was the Cultural Capital of Europe. It was also an Olympic city during the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece .
Thessaloniki was founded in 315 B.C. by Kassandros, king of Macedonia and former general of Alexander the Great. During the Byzantine era Thessaloniki was the second most significant city of the Byzantine Empire, after the capital Constantinople. The wealth of the 14th century Byzantine churches testifies the heights Christianity then attained in the city (St. Paul preached here and also addressed the “Thessalonians” in his well known epistle).
Apart from the more recognized monuments of Thessaloniki (ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine etc.) the city also possesses a large display of individual structures as well as entire housing blocks which belong to the modern period of Architecture (popular Architecture and Neoclassical structures). Those buildings not only reflect the spirit and mood of the period they were built in but through their technique illustrate the centuries – old experience of the Greeks who built them.
Nowadays the visitor can enjoy all sorts of attractions such as music performances at the Orchestra Hall of the City, cultural events (theater, ballet, art exhibits, lectures etc.) and sample a variety of Greek tastes at numerous local restaurants and taverns. One can also visit the many museums that cover a wide spectrum of ancient and contemporary cultural facets. The archaeological museum and the byzantine museum are just a few meters away from the conference venue.