Thessaloniki (Selânik, Salonica, Θεσσαλονίκη, Солун) is the biggest harbor on the north Aegean coast and one of the main centers of the economic activities of the Bulgarians. Thanks to the St. St. Cyril and Methodius brothers, it is symbolic for the Bulgarian language, spirituality and culture.

In the past Thessaloniki was a cosmopolitan eastern city which people compared to Izmir, Beirut, Alexandria and Constantinople. It was called “Madre de Israel” because of the numerous Jewish community, “the capital of Macedonia” because of its central role in the life of the region, “the city of Kemal Ataturk” because the founder of modern Turkey was born there, “the capital of the Greek refugees from Asia Minor and Pontus” for sheltering them since 1922.

The strategic geographic location of the city and the important role of its port for trade and cultural exchanges in the region made of it a true metropolis in which different religious, ethnic, and national groups coexist. In recent years the memory of this pivotal, historically multinational character of Thessaloniki is reviving.

Apart from being Levantine, Thessaloniki was also a Balkan city that has left a lasting trace in Bulgarian cultural and historical memory. Bulgarians also have left their mark on this cosmopolitan city. Historically, Thessaloniki was the model city for the Bulgarian population of the province, the ‘lamp’ for generations of Bulgarians from Macedonia. And while losing its Levantine appearance, it still remains an attractive center for the economic and cultural initiatives of the Bulgarians, their close and desirable destination for recreation and entertainment.


The Bulgarians tell us

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The Greeks tell us

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The project is funded by the National Science Fund of the Ministry of Education and Science and coordinated by the Institute of Balkan Studies and Centre of Thracology in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

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