Thessaloniki is the capital
of the region of Central Macedonia, which is considered as the European
Union' s gate to the Balkan countries.
It is the metropolitan
centre of Northern Greece, second city of the country, the Cultural Capital
of Europe for 1997 and a basic national and international transport
interchange in the cross-roads of the North - South and East - West axes.
The population of the city of Thessaloniki
with the suburbs is some 970,000 with about 450,000 of them living in the
center of the city. The city is surrounded by the Thermaikos gulf from one
side and the mountains from other side which gave the city a longitudinal
shape with traffic volume coming from the East and West sides of the city.
It is also for this reason, the traffic network system is built to serve
East West traffic volumes with traffic management focusing on one-way
control of main arterials of the city