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Thessaloniki European Youth Capital 2014

Immersed in history, but also a modern, cosmopolitan city, famous for its lively streets, vibrant nightlife and art scene, Thessaloniki is the youthful centre of Greece.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city of Greece with a metropolitan area that is estimated to have a population of over 1.1 million. Its history as a city spans over 23 centuries. Fertile field for the meeting of different cultures, it is also the main port of the Balkan area and a crossroad  between the Mediterranean Sea and Southeastern Europe. The city has the privilege of a great historical past which is reflected onto the bustling, energetic and creative everyday life of a big young population generated through universities and other educational institutions.
 HISTORY Thessaloniki is a rare example of a city that has kept the characteristics of urban organisation throughout   23 centuries of history. Life in the area of Thessaloniki began in prehistoric times. Excavation findings that have recently come to light in the area (Stavroupoli,Toumba,Karabournaki) date back to the Neolithic age and even go as far back as the early third millennium BC. The city was founded in 315 BC, in the early years of the Hellenistic period. Its founder was Cassander, the King of Macedonia, who joined 26 scattered settlements of this area into a single city to honour  his wife, Thessaloniki, who was the sister of Alexander the Great.The city came under Roman rule and became the second largest city of the eastern Roman Empire and the second most important city of the Ottoman Empire until its liberation from the Turks and its incorporation into the Greek State in 1912. It is the main port of the Balkans and a commercial crossroad between the Mediterranean and Southeast Europe, as well as between Europe and Asia.Thanks to its history and also its geographical position,Thessaloniki has become a long-standing multicultural city with many communities creating and living together in harmony. Over the last 20 years, with the collapse of Eastern Europe’s borders and the incorporation of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union, these characteristics have become more striking.
 CITY OF YOUTH Thessaloniki is the youth centre of the region. Large youth events take place here. Education and training actions for youth NGO personnel as well as information networks begin in Thessaloniki. It is the home of CEDEFOP (, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, and  until a few years ago it was home to the European Agency for Reconstruction. Being the second largest city in Greece, it has well-developed infrastructure, both in terms of its urban fabric and social infrastructure. The airport ( ), train station ( ), international bus network and motorways serve the city, while low-cost airlines bring thousands of young people to Thessaloniki all year round. The city has a highly developed youth sector which includes youth NGOs, informal youth actions and a very active student community which takes initiatives on social matters and issues of concerning the city. The city’s 4 universities ( , , , )   are attended by approximately 150,000 students and together with the city’s permanent young residents, Thessaloniki has approximately 200,000 young people, accounting for approximately 50% of the central municipality’s residents and 1/5 of the city’s overall population.