fivemack (fivemack) wrote,
fivemack
fivemack

Thessaloniki 2

There are two meanings of Byzantine: unendurable and incomprehensible political debate between a large number of sides with undiscernable motives, or pertaining to the Power that was the undisputed master of the Eastern Mediterranean for several hundred years around the turn of the first millenium AD.

The Byzantine walls of Thessaloniki are clearly Byzantine[2]; three metres thick, eight metres high, faced in stone for the first three metres and massive brick for the rest, some kilometres long. No-nonsense walls. Surrounding an enclave of narrow cobbled streets filled with small taverns; I ate for dinner the tentacles of a large octopus, cooked with olive-oil and vinegar, and a nice aubergine salad.

There is a general election in Greece today; civil servants get the day off; museums are State organisations run by civil servants; accordingly I've seen the insides of a number of Byzantine churches that were as old as Merton College is now when Merton College was founded, and the outsides of a number of good museums. The Lefkopyrgos of Thessaloniki is shut indefinitely for archaeological work. They're building a metro system here, which, unsurprisingly in a town three thousand years deep in history, is running over schedule and keeping the archaeologists fully employed.

The streets seemed rather full of police as the election results appeared; one group stopped me, possibly because I was inadvertently dressed in something close to the uniform of the Communist Party (red shirt, black trousers) and carrying a camera apparently of unusual size, but let me go after asking a few questions and not taking down the answers; presumably I appear particularly innocuous.

I think I'll go off now and take a sunset cruise; they're an absolutely conventional once-around-the-bay kind of thing, but ought to be quite pretty.
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