Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
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 The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki has been collecting artifacts from the region to tell the story of ancient Macedonia. Today, the museum proudly displays around 12,000 pieces of history, many of which are 2,000 years old.


Before its building was even constructed, during the First world war the french army collected antiques from Rotunda and the british from the White Tower. In 1925, the Yeni Kami mosque was given to the archaeological service, and the first museum in the city was born.

In 1962, a grand celebration was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Thessaloniki’s freedom, whereupon the museum was formally established. It displayed relics from tombs, along with classic statues. In 1985, the museum held the first major exhibition dedicated to Thessaloniki’s history. In 2002, by a presidential decree, the Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki was lifted to the status of a special regional service under the ministry of culture, and a major refurbishment was initiated. Finally, in 2006, the restructured museum opened its doors again, featuring freshly-arranged exhibitions for the modern viewer.

Museum building

In the 1950s, a substantial section of land in the downtown area was assigned for the development of a museum. Renowned greek architect of the early modernism period, Patroklos Karantinos, was given the task of constructing the building. Starting in 1960, the project was completed two years later. The museum has become a model of modernist architecture in Greece and the most substantial post-war project of Karantinos. The design of the edifice, with a simple and functional style, followed the layout of ancient greek dwellings, where the spaces were centered around a central atrium.

The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki has its permanent exhibition, which is divided into several sections.

  • The first one is labeled «life in prehistoric Macedonia» and it showcases artifacts from the Petralona cave, as well as everyday objects used by those who engaged in livestock rearing, hunting, and cultivation. It also has vessels and jewelry.
  • Another one segment is called «the birth of cities» and it includes finds from the thermal gulf, mount Athos, and mount Olympus, all depicting life during the iron age.
  • For over a millennium, from the 7th century bc to the late roman period, an exhibition is held in Thessaloniki, showcasing all facets of life in Macedonia. Displayed in the hall are artifacts from all over the macedonian region, ranging from steles, helmets and funerary objects, to reliefs, adornments and even ancient musical instruments. All of these objects form a timeline of 1100 years of macedonian history.
  • An exhibition devoted to Thessaloniki as the seat of Macedonia from its foundation in 315 to the 4th century ad. It offers a chance to become more familiar with the city: the lifestyle of its people, traditions, social, political and cultural ways of life. Exhibits include pieces of architecture, statues, vessels, commemorative inscriptions, and mosaics. The usual museum materials (texts, item descriptions) are supplemented by advanced multimedia applications. Through touch screens, visitors can watch a movie about Thessaloniki and take a virtual tour of the city.
  • Inspiring «the gold of the Macedonians» exhibition. Within, it flaunts the largest collection of macedonian golden wreaths in all of Greece. In addition to this, it boasts an array of silver and bronze weaponry, plus a plethora of high-quality jewelry.
  • The «memory in stone» exhibit showcases a selection of stone artifacts from Macedonia and Thessaloniki, including statues, busts, steles, altars, and capitals.

Meanwhile, the outdoor exhibition is devoted to Thessaloniki’s heyday, with various precious finds, such as marble sarcophagi and an original roman empire mosaic house floor.

The museum also offers interactive systems to make the exploration of its exhibits more exciting, especially for young visitors. Thus combining learning and fun through games.

If you’re traveling to the museum, buses 7, 10, 12, 31, 39 and 58 will be available for you to get close to the destination. Walking from the white tower is also an option, with it being only 500 m away.


It’s recommended to check the museum’s website for a poster before your visit. You’ll be able to explore the permanent exhibition and temporally exhibitions. Fun programs for children and families are also made available. In addition, you can purchase memorabilia, jewelry in ancient style, and books inside the souvenir shop. There’s also an art cafe that you can relax in while you’re there.