In Pictures: Thessaloniki from Above

Sakis Gioumpasis takes his photography to the skies over Thessaloniki, offering stunning views of familiar sites.

Kyprion Agoniston Square, on a September noon, taken from 96 meters.

The drone rises above the space between Olympou, Venizelou and Agiou Dimitriou streets, the location of the ancient city’s administrative center in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. “I have passed by here many times but never imagined that there was this symmetry over the ancient public buildings: left and right, the buildings look like arrows pointing towards the antiquities. From above, you also discover the hidden trees that are not visible from the ground,” says the photographer, who can be spotted in the right-hand corner of the archaeological site, on the pavement in front of the blue car.

Kalamaria, afternoon, November.

The Thessaloniki Nautical Club appears as an arrow pointing to the Thermaic gulf. From above, it is like looking into the depths of the sea with 3D glasses. Yachts are moored at the two jetties and near the top stands the church of St. Nicholas.

Nea Paralia, Thessaloniki, on a November morning.

The city refuses to welcome the autumn, the sea is like glass and people are strolling under the hot sun. Fifty meters from the sea, the drone takes off and hovers at a height of 74 meters. “There are no surrounding buildings to give perspective to the renovated beach front. As the sun sets, it casts shadows from the trees and streetlamps. When you are on the ground, you don’t get to see this symmetry.”

Thessaloniki beachfront, Megalou Alexandrou Avenue, early autumn 2014.

“The cars that are always parked here from above look like miniatures on a child’s car racing set. The shadows give volume. The curves of the streets form an interesting geometric pattern. I always wanted to see how these roads meet and that’s why I took this aerial photo.”

Kalamaria, November 19, at 17:30.

As the drone rises in the sky to capture the marina at Aretsou from above, a gentle wave that has come in from the Thermaic Gulf disappears and the boats looks like toys. In this area, refugees from the Asia Minor Catastrophe from the mainly Greek populated coastal town which is now called Darica (in Turkey) were resettled. “The pier brought me here; I wanted to see how it geometrically divides the sea. From above, the contrasts are softened. On one side, dozens of fishing boats are tied up with a few expensive yachts.” You have to be observant or to have spent your childhood here to notice the beachfront amusement park that operates in the summer. “When you go past it in the winter it makes you melancholy.” From above, it’s like an unfinished model.

Thessaloniki, Old City

The drone takes off from Alexandrou Svolou Street and photographs the eastern part of the old city in depth. “I wanted to capture the route that leads to the Rotunda,” says the photographer, referring the great 4th-century monument that is considered a twin of the Pantheon in Rome. By pointing the lens to the end of the sidewalk, which is interrupted by geometric slices of green, he noticed that “from above even the old apartment buildings with their narrow balconies don’t look so bad and display a symmetry.”

Nea Paralia, on an October noon in 2014.

“I flew the drone to a point that has been photographed millions of times, but from above it tells a new story.” On the left, the shadows formed by the steel lines of the sculpture by Giorgos Zongolopoulos create angles, his Umbrellas work appearing like bubbles and the fountain resembling a large mattress. “The people look like ants and their hats look like chewing gum on the pavement,” remarks the photographer.