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Thessaloniki and Architectural Tourism

When I was asked to write a short article about how Thessaloniki manages its architectural heritage in terms of foreign tourists, two different situations came to mind.

The first is a web show titled “The aesthetics of the city I live in” where then I had spontaneously said that “every time I return from abroad, I am disappointed with the aesthetics of the city I live in”. The second is the organization of his excursion program ArchiTravel (www.architravel.com) in America where we face the usual problem of our special architectural tours.. How many and which buildings we will not be able to visit either because they are on the outskirts of a city and access is difficult or because they simply do not fit into the program.

Recent years architectural tourism is a reality at a global level especially in terms of modern architecture. Most cities take care, either at a central public level or, having created the appropriate culture among their residents, at a private level to acquire buildings signed by famous architects or buildings by local architects which are innovative, interesting and worth viewing and visiting.

As far as Thessaloniki is concerned, the truth is that efforts have been made in recent years both at the public level (new beach, new town hall, music hall 2 etc.) and at the private level (residences published in international magazines and media) so that the city a presence in the international architectural scene. Thessaloniki is a unique city in the world where so many different historical layers co-exist, with a multitude of surviving monuments where they truly make it a multicultural city. The bet of our own generation is that we will be able, either as architects or as a society as a whole, to create a worthy and competent sample of modern architecture so that the city can become a pole of attraction for people who travel to experience modern architecture worldwide.

This will have a double effect. The city itself will benefit from the arrival of new tourists who will have reason to stay for a sufficient period of time within the city with what this entails for its economy. City dwellers will benefit doubly as they will be fortunate enough to live in a beautiful urban environment that will inspire rather than depress. And this has been experienced in recent years by all those who take the time to walk on the new beach and enjoy the sea, the sun and a beautiful environment where it takes them away from the bustling urban life for a while.

Times have changed and we have moved from I to we. The faster we all realize this, the faster and better results we will have both as a society and as an urban living environment.

Alexios Vandoros


The article was published on the TEE-TKM blog: www.teetkm.gr/thessaloniki-and-architectural-tour/