Thessaloniki is a city located in Greece. It is the second largest city in the country, and it also serves as the capital of Macedonia. The city has become known as a major hub for economics, politics, and industry. It also has a very rich and unique culture, which attracts residents and tourists alike. Data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority puts the population of the city at 325,182.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Thessaloniki covers a surface area of 19.307 km2 (7.454 square miles) in the city proper. The metropolitan area sprawls over a total of 1,285.61 km2 (496.38 square miles). The population density of Thessaloniki comes to approximately 7,100 residents per square kilometer (18,000 residents per square mile).
Throughout its history, Thessaloniki has been home to many different ethnic groups, including Jewish, Muslim, Greek, Bulgarians, Roma, and other minor groups.
The Jewish population has declined throughout the years, falling from 51% of the population in the 1840s to just 0.27% in the 2000s. This means that the population has of Jewish residents dropped from 36,000 to just around 1,000. The population of Jews in Greece are the oldest in Europe’s mainland.
Thessaloniki has become known as the cultural capital of Greece, and the many immigrants that have moved to the city have contributed to this title. Since the 19th century, merchants from France, Italy, and other areas in Western Europe have come to the city. While some have left in more recent years, many stayed and their descendants remain in the city today. There is also a large Armenian community within Thessaloniki.
Evidence shows that the city was founded around 315 BC. The city was established under the kingdom of Macedon, and following the fall of the kingdom, became the capital of Macedonia, later becoming a free city.
During its earliest years, the city was an early center of Christianity. Even in its earliest days, Thessaloniki was a large and prosperous city. During the 12th century, the city had a population of 150,000. During the 14th century, the city continued to hold onto its population and was even larger than London in terms of population.
The city was invaded multiple times throughout its history, including by the Avars, Slavs and Arabs. Fast forwarding to the 1400s, the city fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. It established itself as an important hub for trading. During this period, the population rose significantly, primarily consisting of Ottoman Muslims. The city was revived under Ottomon rule, including the development of infrastructure such as a tram service and installation of electric streetlights. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, the city experienced a boom in population.
When the Ottoman Empire fell apart, the population of the city changed significantly in terms of the ethnic groups. Ethnic Greeks were resettled in the city, while many of the Muslims residing in Thessaloniki were deported to Turkey. Later, during the Nazi invasion, demographics changed again as over 43,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps.
Following the war, the city began to rebuild through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Through the wars and raids, many architectural monuments are still intact. The city has become known as the European Capital of Culture since the 1990s. Today, it is still very important in trade and business. Its port remains one of the largest and most important in Europe.
Thessaloniki Population Growth
Throughout its years, Thessaloniki has general seen strong population growth, expect during the early 1900s when the deportation of Muslims and later, the movement of Jews to concentration camps, caused a drop in population. However, the city’s thriving industry and incredible culture make it an appealing place to call home. The city has one of the largest student populations in Greece and continues to be an attractive option for younger generations. For these reasons, it is expected that Thessaloniki will continue to see the steady growth that has been observed throughout its history.