Mysterious Greece is a homeland for many of the greatest minds of the world. One of them is Aristotle — the most influential philosopher of antiquity, the founder of logic, Plato’s follower and a mentor of the the greatest commander Alexander the Great. The Greek people are proud of their compatriot and honour his memory. The central square in Thessaloniki is named after this great thinker, who has forever left a mark not only in history of Greece but of the whole world.
Aristotelous square is the central square and the most well-known place in the city. Here you are just a stone’s throw away from the majority of the most famous attractions, the port and of course, the promenade are just a short distance away. Nowadays, various cultural events and festivals are held on the square. The Aristotelous square is surrounded by a great variety of shops and cafes that are never empty, — it is a favorite place not only for visitors of the city but for locals as well.
At the beginning of the XX century, after the Conflagration of the 1912 that destroyed the major part of Thessaloniki, the prime-minister of Greece Eleftherios Venizelos decided to rebuild and renovate the city. To turn the idea into reality he hired a young French architect Ernest Hebrard. The project of the city that was created by him had to combine comfortably history and modernity, due to reconstruction and renovation of the fragments of more than two thousand years’ age. The Byzantine heritage of Thessaloniki had to be preserved, also the plan included a great number of boulevards and modern roads, squares and parks.
Unfortunately, some time later the plan was simplified, and the Aristotelous square with its two amazing buildings on the both sides of the road with the same name, became the only elements that were fully put into life according to the Hebrard’s arranged project. The square gained its completive image in 1960s.
All around the Thessaloniki square there are elegant buildings with ivory white facades built in the neoclassic style. Arches, colonnades, balconies and various decorative elements stand out here, and generally Ebrar provided a delicate combination of Byzantine, Venetian and Eastern elements.
On the square itself there is a monument to Aristotle. The big toe on the thinker's left leg is uncommonly shining — there is a belief that everyone who rubs it will gain wisdom. This superstition is often used by students who form up a large queue near the monument just before the term exams.
A little up the street there is a cinema Olympion where the International Film Festival is annually held, with the participation of the most token novelties of the film industry. On the opposite side of the street, like a mirror image of the Olympion, there is a five-star hotel Electra Palace. Both buildings have unusual quarter-circle facades — the architect Hebrard’s author style creates an unusual charm and attractiveness of Aristotelous Square.
Up the street of Aristotle, at the crossroad with Tsimiski street there is a flower clock with season flowers planted all around, which decorates a pedestrianised area. A little further there is a marble statue of Eleftherios Venizelos — the Greek prime-minister and outstanding diplomat who organized the Cretan rebellion.
The Aristotelous Square begins at Leoforos Nikis street and rises up to the Basilica of Saint Dimitrios. A bronze monument to a great philosopher Aristotle is one of the main attractions and is located on the right side of the square if you stand with your back to the sea.
Just after the Mitropoleos street that is crossing it, the square is framed by two amazing buildings with semicircular facades — the Olympion cinema and the hotel Electra Palace. Before the 1978 earthquake, in the western part on the seafront side there was the Mediterranean Hotel. The Aristotelous square is surrounded by various restaurants and cafes that are open from early morning to late night.
The square continues with a pedestrianised Aristotelous street, leading to the ancient Agora, Roman forum and a park. Just past the Egnatia street crossing there is a monument to Eleftherios Venizelos. To the right and to the left of the square, before reaching Egnatia street, there are famous shopping market Modiano and Kapani that sell fruits, vegetables, spices, clothes, household goods and other things.
Aristotelous square is located right in the center of the city, starting directly from the seafront. You can get to this place by city buses 3, 5, 5А, 6, 12, 33, 33А, 39, 39А. You can also go here by bicycle or car, but you should keep in mind that it is hard enough to find the place for car parking in the centre.
Having walked well on the Aristotelous square and having learnt its zests, take an occasion to visit the other interesting places of Thessaloniki, too — many attractions are close at hand from here. Take a stroll in the racy district Ladadika, where you can drink a cup of coffee or enjoy delicious dishes of Greek cuisine in one of many restaurants and cafes.
Explore the port — it is not only a picturesque place with beautiful ships, there are modern art galleries, a Museum of photography, 2 cinemas and a cafe-restaurant here. Or just take a walk along the seafront and enjoy the view of the Thermaikos Bay, making amazing memento photos on your way.