Thessaloniki is widely regarded as Greece’s cultural capital in modern times. The city is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural activities. Each year Thessaloniki holds several international festivals, such as the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, the International Documentary Festival, the International Book Fair, as well as a Festival of Photography.
Furthermore, every autumn and for almost half a century the city of Thessaloniki has been organising the renowned Festival of Dimitria. Dimitria is the largest cultural & intellectual festivity in Northern Greece. It lasts for three months and is a revival of the Byzantine “Dimitria”, a festival held on a yearly basis from the 7th century until about the 16th century in order to celebrate the city’s patron saint, St. Demetrios. Thessaloniki is also the host city of the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora.
The higher education sector is a vital contributor to the local economy. There are 4 public universities in total – namely, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which is the biggest university in Greece, the Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki (ATEITH), the University of Macedonia, and the International Hellenic University, which is the first Greek public university where all programs are taught exclusively in English. Together, they combine approximately 130,000 students. With a total of around 200,000 young people, who account for about 50% of the central municipality’s residents, Thessaloniki has one of the world’s highest rates of young adults in the population.