Christmas in Thessaloniki: Hellenistic & Byzantine Treasures
20 Dec — 27 Dec 2021 | Tour Director: Andrew Wilson
• Discover the fascinating late Roman and Byzantine archaeology of Greece’s second city, founded by one of Alexander’s greatest generals
• Visit the awe-inspiring golden tomb of Philip II at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vergina, and explore ancient Dion, the city of Zeus
• Absorb the splendour of Hellenistic pebble mosaics and shining Byzantine tesserae
BA, BD, FSAScot
specialist in archaeology and ancient history
Depart London Gatwick 0835, arriving Thessaloniki 1405. Transfer to City Hotel, Thessaloniki, for seven nights. Some free time. Evening lecture.
Morning excursion to Pella (birthplace of Alexander the Great, with remains of villas and superb mosaics). Afternoon tour of Byzantine Museum, Thessaloniki, and principal Byzantine churches (Panagia Acheiropoietos, Agia Sophia and Agios Dimitrios) featuring stunning mosaics and frescoes.
Roman Thessaloniki: Rotunda, Arch of Galerius, Imperial Palace (exterior) and Roman agora. Afternoon: Archaeology Museum. Evening lecture.
Excursion to Veria (links to St Paul) including museum and church (14th century frescoes – visit subject to confirmation). Afternoon: magnificent tomb of Philip II at Vergina.
Excursion to Archaeological Park of Dion (fascinating remains of ancient city with Greek and Roman artefacts): site and museum.
Visit to Heptapyrgion fortress and ramparts (exteriors) and castle walls. Continue through old town (views of churches and monuments). Christmas Day lunch at local taverna. Afternoon stroll to waterfront to view White Tower and Alexander the Great statue, followed by some free time.
Walk through less frequented parts of Thessaloniki to view hidden Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, before continuing to suburbs of Karabournaki and Aretsou (seafront). Fish lunch at local taverna. Afternoon: Queen Olga Street (architecturally eclectic 19th and 20th century mansions). Evening lecture.
Depart Thessaloniki 1440, arriving Gatwick 1610.
20 Dec — 27 Dec 2021
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“The tour was great in every way”
“As ever, Andrew was a brilliant tour leader, erudite and interesting”
ACE customers on a previous Christmas in Thessaloniki tour with Andrew Wilson
FITNESS & PRACTICALITIES
This tour is taken at a relaxed pace and is not expected to be strenuous, but a good level of fitness is required, and participants should be prepared for periods of walking and standing on uneven terrain.
Tour Director Andrew Wilson writes:
“Apart from the glorious Hellenistic and Byzantine treasures that we see on this special tour of an amazing city, one of my personal highlights is standing beside the busy modern street and admiring the remarkable friezes on the Arch of Galerius, the Eastern Caesar under Diocletian’s Tetrarchy who made Thessaloniki his sparkling capital. The Arch commemorates his victory against the Sassanid Persians, and there are the usual scenes of vanquished people and Roman triumphalism. I especially admire the Imperial Concord scene, showing the four tetrarchs as a symbol of unity, reminding me of the famous porphyry statue outside St Mark’s in Venice. I also love dodging bewildered pedestrians going about their business as I leap around pointing out where the missing piers from this octopylon would have been!”
OVERNIGHT AT GATWICK AIRPORT
In readiness for our morning flight to Thessaloniki on December 20, the cost of this tour includes an overnight stay at a hotel at London Gatwick Airport on December 19 (room only). Our Sales team will be able to discuss this further with you upon booking.
For customers who wish to make their own travel arrangements, ACE is pleased to be able to offer a flight reduction of £250.
Cost of £2295 includes: return airfare, overnight accommodation (room only) at a London Gatwick Airport hotel on December 19, tour accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room (part city facing with small balcony), breakfast, two lunches, dinner (two light) with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement (part city facing with small balcony) £335.