Departure region Thessaloniki

Jewish Heritage of Thessaloniki

Duration / time start
Half day / 9:00
175 km.
The history of the ancient Greek city is so closely intertwined with the history of the Jewish people that it got the moniker the ‘mother of Israel. It`s a side of Thessaloniki not to be missed.


Thessaloniki, the grandest port of Greece and one of the most picturesque cities, is referred to as «la madre de Israel». Sephardic jews who were expelled from Spain in the 15th century found refuge in this city, and it came to house the largest jewish population in Europe. By early 20th century, Thessaloniki was essentially a jewish city but devastating disasters such as the great fire of 1917 along with wwi and wwii reduced their numbers drastically. Nonetheless, their community still exists albeit in relatively lower numbers.

Contributions of jews to Thessaloniki

The jews have had significant impact on the marvellous Greek city of Thessaloniki. They have left a legacy of unique architecture, special flavour and sumptuous cuisine. The abundance of noteworthy sights and historical sites makes thessaloniki a great destination for exploring.

Notable landmarks of  Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is home to multiple monuments and remnants of jewish culture. It is impossible to see all of them in one day, so we present some of these iconic spots.

Monastirioton synagogue, 1927

Ida Aroesti donated funds in memory of her husband, Isaac, and families from monastiri (now bitola) who moved to Thessaloniki after wwi, to build the Monastirioton synagogue. During wwii, when many jews were deported, the red cross used the synagogue as a storage facility, so it survived. It still stands as a memorial, to honour the past, and to serve the present community.

Yad Lezikaron synagogue

Yad Lezikaron synagogue is devoted to those who perished in the holocaust. It is erected at the spot of a modest prayer house, otherwise known as market synagogue, that met the pious needs of those working in the marketplace close by.

Aristotle square

This is the central square in Tthessaloniki and the majority of the edifices that encircle it were owned by the jewish citizens of the city in the past. Their prosperity, tastes, and individual stories are all mirrored in the intricate architecture.

The jewish museum

Founded in 1997, it offers the chance to view old scriptures and gravestones, found close to the city`s walls, and a huge collection depicting the lives of jews in Thessaloniki before wwii. The museum conserves rare books and archives.

The old railway station

This locale stands as a symbol of great sadness and power in the city. Thousands of jewish people were cruelly pushed to their deaths in nazi concentration camps, right from here. It is a challenging task to confront the despair, heartache and terror that was felt during that time, but it is necessary.

Monuments & jewish heritage

The monuments of the past hold a profound tragedy, but also teach us lessons of bravery and compassion of ordinary people in the face of horror. Jewish heritage can also be found in architecture. Unique works of creativity bear memories of the past, such as Casa Bianca. This mansion has elements of the renaissance and art nouveau, but is mostly remembered for the story of a forbidden love that withstood the holocaust. The building has been superbly restored.

Let\'s go!

Meet your guide at your hotel's reception (or any other meeting point).

The best view in Thessaloniki
20 min.

The first idea and a marvelouse view of the city at the Trigonion Tower in Upper Town.

Madre d\'Israel
up to 1 hour

Memories & Faces of Jewish history of the city. Excursion in the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki

Black Sabbath
15 min.

Liberty square is where the Holocaust in Thessaloniki started 1942

לשמוע ישראל
40 min.

Visiting the historic Synagogue of Monastirioton

Gone but not lost.

The old Jewish cemetery (what is left of it...) & the Eastern Thessaloniki Jewish Settlements

back home

Transfer back your place


Jewish Monuments of Thessaloniki


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What to take

- Good mood and explorer’s spirit are a must - You’ll definitely want to document your journey, so make sure your digital devices have plenty of space for lots of photos and check their batteries - Pocket money for souvenirs, food and possible on the go expenses - Bottled water

What to wear

- Since we’re going to visit holy places, please, wear casual, plain clothes covering knees and shoulders - Headcover and sunglasses if suited to the weather