Its importance is such that, Greeks often refer it as the country's ‘co-capital’. Its treasures of surviving monuments have made the city a living museum of Byzantine art.
The city stretches over 12 km in a bowl formed by low hills facing a bay. The city stands at the head of the Thermaic Gulf. It was founded in 315 BC by Kassandros, King of Macedonia, and was named after his wife, Thessaloniki, sister of Alexander the Great. Greece covers 130,000 sq km and is located in the southeastern portion of Europe. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Ionian Sea on the west, the Aegean Sea on the east, and the north by Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Macedonia (formerly Yugoslavia). The country also includes a great number of islands.