War was being waged on the Bulgarians in the Middle Byzantine city of Thessaloniki of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.Vassilios made the city his military headquarters,and in the great moments of military triumph that followed, the church of the Virgin of Halkis was built with the Ascension of Christ depicted on its central dome.During the first campaign against the Normans the city becomes Alexios Komninos th 1st’s headquarters.At this time, the city is already a melting pot of nations .Its inhabitants number over 100.000, while the central market is reminiscent of an eastern bazaar. This prosperity is cut short in 1185 by the incursion of the Normans.During the 13th century the city keeps a precarious political balance between the Bulgarians, the empire of Nicaia and the prelacy of Epirus.Painters from Thessaloniki,the greatest centre for the arts during Latin rule, work in Serbia, perhaps even in Bulgaria.Contact with the west, trade and the development of small businesses encourage the growth of a middle class.It seems that the “Nymph of the bay of Thermaikos” (the name that Thessaloniki goes by), thrives as it sways between the Western and the Eastern worlds.