By Vicky Litska
Aristotelous Square, one of the most magnificent and well-known Platies (squares) in Greece, is a point of reference for the stunning city of Thessaloniki. It’s a perfect meeting point for friends and a spot that serves as one of the most touristic places in northern Greece.
Surrounded by chic cafeterias, bars, restaurants and boutiques, all lined on both sides of the square, it will inevitably catch the eye of every visitor since it occupies a very central location from Mitropoleos Street, maybe the most luxurious commercial street in the city for shopping, up until Nikis Avenue, along the beachfront.
The architectural beauty that is reflected on the imposing buildings of the circulated square thrives in the eye not only of the visitors who wander around the city center but also of the locals who can’t get enough of this beautiful structural synthesis.
It was designed by French architect Ernest Hébrard who was challenged to give a more European aspect to the general image of the city after the disastrous fire of 1918, which left the area ruined and in need of immediate restoration. And it was his high aesthetic and artistic inspiration that in reality made this Square seem unique for its Byzantine and western style, both mixed up in harmony, creating a place equivalent to other world famous Squares, recognised for their special artistic character. Until then Thessaloniki lacked Squares so the initiative of constructing one in such a central location was a really genuine paintbrush that restored the city’s profile in a wonderful way.
Surrounded by main Streets such as Egnatia, Proxenou Koromila, Ermou, shops and of course the sight of the sea in front of it, Aristotelous Square is somehow a symphony of beautiful images and lively spots that make you feel the very special urban aura when standing within its circle.
*Watch Video of Aristotelous Square
The statue of Aristoteles which stands on the left side of the square with its thumb toe raised is a most visited attraction by tourists who tend to rub his thumb in order to gain, according to tradition, some of the wisdom of the great Greek philosopher. Another important building to set your eyes on is Electra Palace, the five-star Hotel that lies on the right side, famous for its elegance as well as its very popular terrace from which you can attain the breathtaking view of the city center and the sea with a cup of coffee or a nice cocktail in hand.
The Olympion movie Theatre on the opposite side completes the high level cultural atmosphere of the location as the primary venue of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, an annual artistic event from which a lot of filmmakers have emerged during the recent years since they have the chance to present their work from the small city of Thessaloniki to a more global extend through a very promising festival that seems to have its gaze directed at the French Cannes Festival.
While strolling around the Square in the busy morning hours or after the beautiful sunset easily spotted in the horizon above sea level, don’t forget to treat yourself to a delicious traditional Tsoureki from one of the famous Terkenlis shops standing on Tsimiski Street right on the left side of the Square.
The Square of Aristotelous has been marked by historical events, festive moments as well as famous speeches and social political protests at the top of which figure the rallies for Macedonia. It is the central vessel of Thessaloniki, a point of meeting and social interaction, always busy and vibrant, making it ideal for both visitors and locals, reconfirming the unique and welcoming vibe of Thessaloniki.