315. Founding of the city by Kassander, King of Macedonia. Thessaloniki was the name of Kassander’s wife, sister of Alexander the Great.
285. The city becomes the headquarters of Antigonus, King of Macedonia, during his war with Pyrrhus, King of Epirus.
279. Invading Celts are encountered in battle outside the city walls. In the fighting the King of Macedonia, Ptolemaius Keraunus, is slain. Roman occupation. Thessaloniki becomes the capital of part of Macedonia. After the defeat of Andriscus and the annexation by the Romans of new territories, Thessaloniki becomes the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia.
146-120. Construction of the Via Egnatia, the Roman road from the Adriatic to the Evros, by the Proconsul Gnaius Egnatius. Significant economic and cultural activity in Thessaloniki.
42. Battle of Philippi. Anthony and Octavian defeat Brutus and Cassius, the champions of the republican cause, and make a triumphant entrance into the city of Thessaloniki. A triumphal arch is erected at the Vardari Gate and the city is proclaimed a free city, enjoying its own administration and a number of special privileges.
30-28. Crassus, the administrator of Macedonia, defeats the invading Thracians and Dacians. Macedonia is now the most peaceful province in the empire, with its own garrison and laws. Thessaloniki is now the ‘metropolis’ of Macedonia.
During this period the Olympian and Pythian Games are celebrated, on the model of the games at ancient Olympia. The city is granted the honorary title of Kolonia.
50. The Apostle Paul visits Thessaloniki and addresses two epistles to the people of the city, regarded as among the most important Christian texts. A Christian church is organised in the city.
253, 262, 269. Invasions by Goths.
293. The Roman empire is administered by the two Augusti and two Caesars- Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius and Constantius. Thessaloniki becomes capital of the ‘first’ part of Macedonia.
303. Galerius Valerius Maximianus endows the city with a magnificent complex of buildings: the Arch of Galerius (Kamara), Rotonda, Hippodrome and Octagon.
305. (26 October) Martyrdom of Aghios Demetrios. The first small church is erected on the site of his tomb.
324. Constantine the Great makes the city his headquarters for his war against his brother-in-law Licinius. The latter is eventually defeated and put to death. An artificial harbour is constructed to accommodate Constantine’s massive fleet.
390. Uprising by the people of the city against the Emperor Theodosius I. Slaughter of 7,000 citizens in the Hippodrome, a reprisal ordered by the Emperor.
413. Construction of the magnificent Church of Aghios Demetrios, patron saint of the city.
464. Construction of first great Basilica of Aghios Demetrios.
499. The Avars attack Thessaloniki.
597, 620, 667. Major earthquakes. Destruction of buildings in the Forum.
677. The city suffers a major earthquake while under siege by the Slavs. According to tradition, St. Demetrios saves the city from disaster.
Late 7th century. Erection of Church of Aghia Sophia (domed basilica).
863. The brothers Cyril and Methodius, natives of Thessaloniki, take Byzantine civilisation to the peoples of the Balkans.
904. Raid on the city by Saracen pirates. City seized and looted.
927. A great plague afflicts the city.
990. The Emperor Basil II makes the city his headquarters for his campaign against the Bulgarians, who are eventually driven northwards. At the Battle of the Strymon 14,000 Bulgarians are taken prisoner.
1150. Establishment of the Demetria festival in memory of the patron saint Aghios Demetrios.
1185-1186. The Normans capture and loot the city.
1204. Capture and occupation of the city by the Franks.
1224. Thessaloniki is recaptured by Theodorus Ducas Comninus, ruler of Epirus.
1246. The Emperor Vatatzes occupies the city. Andronicus Palaiologus Comninus, father of Michael Palaiologus, is appointed governor of the city.
1284. The Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Palaiologus marries Iolande, daughter of the ‘Marquis’ of Montferrat, William VII. Iolande is given the city of Thessaloniki as her dowry.
1342-1349. The Zealots rise up and take over the city. Epidemic of black cholera.
1347. The city is besieged by Stefanos Dusan, King of the Serbs. John Cantacuzenus VI signs a peace treaty with the Serbian ruler outside the city walls.
1383. Thessaloniki is besieged by the Turks. Manuel, Despot of the city and son of Emperor John Cantacuzenus V, fights to save the city.
1387. Thessaloniki is captured by the Turks and Manuel flees to Prousa.
1403. After the Turks are routed at the Battle of Ankara by the Mongol warlord Tamberlaine, Thessaloniki is Greek once more.
1423. The city is captured and occupied by the Venetians.
1430. Under Murat II the Turks seize and plunder the city. Thousands of citizens are slain or sold into slavery. The long night of Turkish rule begins.
1492. Thousands of Spanish Jews fleeing persecution under Ferdinand and Isabella seek refuge in Thessaloniki, where they will play an important role in the economic and cultural development of the city.
1571. Massacre of many citizens by the Turks following the defeat of the Turkish fleet at Naupactus.
1821. Emmanuel Pappas disembarks at Mt. Athos and proclaims an uprising against the Turks. Greek hostages in Thessaloniki are slaughtered by the Turkish administrator Yusuf Bey. 2,000 women and children held in the city’s metropolitan church are put to death. Prominent Greeks are hanged at Kapani and in the square before the Rotonda.
1850-1900. The Greek and Jewish populations enjoy increasing affluence and education; the population of the city rises; Greek and foreign schools and printing houses are founded.
1869. Demolition begins of the Byzantine walls and the Kanli Kule (Tower of Blood), where Christian prisoners had been tortured, is whitewashed and renamed the Beyaz Kule (White Tower). The city begins to extend towards the East in the Exochon district, where many villas are constructed.
1874. The coastal walls are demolished and the new waterfront constructed.
1890. A great fire destroys a large part of the city centre.
1893. Horse-drawn trams are introduced to the city. (In 1907 the system is electrified).
1897. A French company undertakes major construction projects at the port of Thessaloniki.
1897. Greece sustains a major defeat at the hands of the Turks. Macedonian question.
1904-1908. Macedonian Struggle.
The Greek Consulate in Thessaloniki plays a vital role in the struggle. Resistance movements in Macedonia. Death of Pavlos Melas and end of the Macedonian Struggle.
1908. Uprising of the Young Turks in Thessaloniki.
1912. Greece declares war on Turkey. On 18 October Thessaloniki is liberated.
1913. King George I is assassinated in Thessaloniki. End of First Balkan War and Treaty of London. Second Balkan War and Treaty of Bucharest.
1915. The Entente forces disembark in Thessaloniki. Macedonian front.
1916. The National Defence movement is proclaimed in Thessaloniki. Venizelos, Admiral Koundouriotis and General Daglis form a provisional government in the city.
1917. An enormous fire destroys the centre of the city, causing incalculable damage and leaving thousands homeless. Founding of Thessaloniki Workers’ Centre.
1922. Asia Minor Catastrophe. Thousands of refugees arrive in the city.
1925. The First International Trade Fair is held. The University of Thessaloniki is founded.
1943. Some 44,000 Thessaloniki Jews are deported to the concentration camps.
1962. Founding of the new Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.
1963. Murder of Member of Parliament Gregoris Lambrakis.
1966. Revival of Demetria festival.
1978. Powerful earthquake strikes the city causing significant damage.
1997. Thessaloniki is Europe’s Cultural Capital.