Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises


The Aegean Secret

Greece is everyone's favorite location with its islands and sand beaches. Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, is the country's hidden gem on the coast of the Aegean Sea (tThe Aegean Sea is a part of the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Turkey).

It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and it has very well-preserved buildings to prove it. You will fall in love with everything in this city – its warm weather, delicious food, hospitable local people and ancient Greek history.

Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises, Thessaloniki

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A Brief History of Thessaloniki

  • The city was founded more than 2,300 years ago by King Cassander, who named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great.
  • When the kingdom of Macedon fell, Thessaloniki became a Roman city, and it began to trade with both Rome and Byzantium (now Istanbul). At that time, it also rose as one of the early centers of Christianity.
  • Until the 15th century, Thessaloniki was the second most important city in the Byzantine Empire, both in terms of wealth and population.
  • The city was then occupied by the Ottomans, and it slowly became more diverse. Many Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain sought refuge in Thessaloniki. With the mixture of Jewish, Muslim and Christian citizens, Thessaloniki's culture bloomed.
  • Due to the events in the 20th century, Thessaloniki became a part of the republic of Greece, but its cultural diversity diminished.
  • Today, Thessaloniki hosts the largest student population in Greece.

Thessaloniki, greece


White Tower

White Tower is the symbol of Thessaloniki, found on nearly all souvenirs. It was built where an old Byzantine fortification once stood, and it now represents a central structure on Thessaloniki's charming 12 km-long waterfront.

It serves a museum and is open for tourists, who can enjoy a stunning view of the waterfront and the bay in front of it from the tower's roof. The museum offers a comprehensive timeline of the important events that happened in the past 2,000 years, so it is a perfect starting point for those who are interested in Thessaloniki's history.

White tower

Arch of Galerius and Rotunda

The Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda are early 4th-century monuments standing next to each other at a place known as Kamara.

Considering how old they are, these Roman-era monuments are incredibly well-preserved. The arch once symbolized the power of the Roman emperor, while the Rotunda has had many different uses throughout the history, having served as a temple, a Christian basilica, and an Ottoman mosque.

Today, Rotunda is an archaeological site and a museum. In addition to being of great historical value, these structures are also famous for being a favorite meeting spot of the students living in Thessaloniki.

Arch of Galerius

Aristotelous Square

Not far from Kamara, Aristotelous Square, the biggest square in the city, is located. This square, named after Greek philosopher Aristotle, lies in the heart of the city, stretching from the shopping avenue of Egnatia all the way to the waterfront.

It is surrounded by twelve buildings of the Hellenic Republic. The square is frequently used for cultural events, such as the annual Christmas celebration, which gathers people from all over the country.

It is a place where you can shop, eat at some of the most expensive restaurants in the city, go to a theater, or simply sit on a bench and feed pigeons.

Aristotelous Square

A Brief Guide to Greek Food

In Thessaloniki, street food is not only very popular, but also incredibly affordable. If you're a meat lover, you should definitely try gyros, a pita bread with chicken or pork, salad and French fries, guaranteed to keep your belly full.


If you have a sweet tooth, simply walk into any of the patisseries you see in the city center – they all make equally delicious pastries!

One of the locals' favorites is definitely tsoureki, a sweet, egg-enriched bread, sometimes covered in chocolate. Tsoureki is traditionally eaten for Easter, but tourists can buy it all year round.

Fresh braided bread

Being in a country which has access to three different seas, Thessaloniki is a perfect place to enjoy some sea food. Go to a local restaurant, and try gemista kalamarakia (stuffed squid), or mydopilafo, Thessaloniki's classic rice with mussels. This great experience is made even better by the free dessert you will get in the end!

Comprehension Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

  1. What does "comprehensive" mean?
    1. very long
    2. easy to understand
    3. complete, including everything that is necessary

  2. What does "expel" mean?
    1. force someone to leave
    2. send someone on a mission
    3. increase your territory

  3. What does "patisserie" mean?
    1. a shop where clothes are sold
    2. traditional French cake
    3. a shop where cakes are sold

  4. What does "refuge" mean?
    1. new country of residence
    2. protection, shelter from danger
    3. birthplace

  5. What does "affordable" mean?
    1. reasonably priced
    2. open for the public
    3. very tasty

Collocation Questions

  1. Aristotelous Square __________ from Egnatia to the waterfront.
    1. reaches
    2. straightens
    3. stretches

  2. At the museum, there is a great __________ of all important events in Thessaloniki's history.
    1. chronology
    2. timeline
    3. exhibition

  3. If you have a sweet __________, try tsoureki.
    1. taste
    2. tooth
    3. mouth

  4. In the 15th century, Sephardic Jews __________ refugee in Thessaloniki.
    1. sought
    2. quested
    3. looked for

  1. During the Ottoman Empire, Thessaloniki's culture __________.
    1. bloomed
    2. flowered
    3. matured

  1. Greece is famous for its __________ beaches.
    1. pebble
    2. smooth
    3. sand

  1. If you are a meat __________, try gyros.
    1. enthusiast
    2. lover
    3. supporter

  2. Thessaloniki became __________ center of Christianity.
    1. an early
    2. a young
    3. a premature

  3. If you want to learn about Thessaloniki's history, White Tower is a perfect starting __________.
    1. position
    2. area
    3. point

  4. Kamara is a well-known meeting __________.
    1. mark
    2. spot
    3. locality

Wh Questions

  1. How was Thessalonike related to Alexander the Great?
    1. She was his half-sister.
    2. She was his cousin.
    3. She was his advisor.

  2. Why did Sephardic Jews come to Thessaloniki in the 15th century?
    1. Because Thessaloniki is close to Spain.
    2. Because they wanted to learn Greek.
    3. Because they were expelled from Spain.

  3. When was the Rotunda built?
    1. in the 20th century
    2. in the 4th century
    3. 2300 years ago

  4. What is the symbol of Thessaloniki?
    1. the Arch of Galerius
    2. the White Tower
    3. Thessaloniki waterfront

  1. Where can you get a free dessert?
    1. at a fast food restaurant
    2. at a patisserie
    3. at a traditional Greek restaurant

Evaluating Statements

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is true?
    1. The Arch of Galerius is much better preserved than the Rotunda.
    2. The Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda are both well-preserved.

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is false?
    1. The annual Christmas celebration is held at the Aristotelous Square.
    2. The annual Christmas celebration is held by the White Tower.

True or False?

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "During the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki was the second richest and most populous city."
    1. True
    2. False

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "There are many patisseries in the city, but only some are worth checking out."
    1. True
    2. False

Answer Key

1. C | 2. A | 3. C | 4. B | 5. A | 6. C | 7. B | 8. B | 9. A | 10. A | 11. C | 12. B | 13. A | 14. C | 15. B | 16. A | 17. C | 18. B | 19. B | 20. C |21. B | 22. B | 23. A | 24. B

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