Ancient and Roman Times
Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece with a population of 1.000.000 inhabitants, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It was founded in 316 B.C. on a site of old prehistoric settlements dating back to 2300 B.C., by Cassander, king of Macedonia, and was named after his wife, sister of Alexander the Great. Since then, Thessaloniki has become the chief city of Macedonia. In Roman times it boasted the largest harbour in the whole region and stood on the spot where the great road from the north met the main east-west artery. Many foreign merchants lived temporarily or permanently in this rich commercial centre. It was visited also by Saint Paul, who preached the new religion, and who later addressed his two well-known epistles to the Christians of Thessaloniki. Galerius, the ruler of one of the two parts of the Eastern Roman Empire, chose Thessaloniki as his imperial seat in A.D. 300.