Upper Town, Salonica Áno Póli
The upper town (Áno Polí) of Salonica, an area of steep and irregular little streets and lanes which was formerly occupied mainly by Turks and still has something of an Oriental aspect, rises up the hill from Odós Olympíados, the curving street which bounds the lower town on the north, to the old town walls and citadel. In this part of the town there are several fountains of the Turkish period as well as a number of notable churches.
Ósios Davíd Mosaic
On a steep site half way up the upper town of Salonica, surrounded by modest little houses, is the little square church of Ósios Davíd, which was originally built in the fifth/sixth century and later served as the church of the Latómou monastery (now disappeared).Externally unpretentious, it has a fine mosaic in the apse depicting the prophet Ezekiel's vision (a beardless figure of Christ between Ezekiel and Habakkuk). The mosaic dates from the time of the church's foundation but remained hidden for many centuries. It was first concealed behind an ox-skin to protect it from the iconoclasts, came to light again by accident in the ninth century and was later covered with whitewash by the Turks, to be finally rediscovered in 1921.
To the east of Ósios Davíd, immediately below the west end of the citadel, is the Vlatádon monastery (Moní Vlatádon), founded between 1351 and 1371, which now houses the Patriarchal Academy. In the principal church (Katholikon), which was extensively rebuilt in 1801, 11th century wall paintings were found during restoration work in 1983, showing that the church must have been in existence well before the foundation of the monastery.
Church of the Taxiarchs
In the southeastern part of the upper town is the three-aisled church of the Taxiarchs (Archangels), dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, which is dated to the 14th century; the outer wall of the apse has fine patterned brickwork. Much altered, the church was used as a mosque (Iki Serefe Camii, the "Mosque with Two Minaret Galleries") during the Turkish period.
St Nicholas the Orphan Church
At the southeastern corner of the upper town stands the little 14th century church of Áyios Nikólaos Orfanós (St Nicholas the Orphan), which is surrounded by an arcaded portico. It contains some well preserved 14th century frescoes, particularly in the apse.
Ste Catherine's Church
In the northwest part of the upper town is the 13th century church of Ayía Ekateríni (St Catherine), with unusually rich decorative brickwork, some of it colored. A harmoniously proportioned building on a square ground-plan, it is a fine example of the Macedonian school of architecture. It contains notable 13th century mosaics and frescoes.
Church of the Prophet Elijah
The church of Profítis Ilías (the Prophet Elijah) stands on a raised site in a large square on the southern fringe of the upper town (on the south side of Odós Olympiádos). This cruciform 14th century church was probably the Katholikon of the lost Néa Moní, a monastery built on the ruins of the Byzantine palace which is believed to have stood here. It was known in Turkish times, when it was converted into a mosque, as the Eski Saray Camii, the Old Palace Mosque.The church is notable both for its gracefully articulated exterior and the fine monolithic columns in the transepts.
Birthplace of Kemal Atatürk
Near the south corner of the upper town of Salonica, adjoining the reddish Turkish Consulate in Odós Apóstolou Pávlou, is the house in which Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk), first President of the Turkish Republic, was born in 1881.
Map of Salonica Attractions