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Thessalonica was a “free city,” which meant that it had an elected citizens’ assembly, it could mint its own coins, and it had no Roman garrison within its walls.
(Acts 17 - Word Pictures in the New Testament) NET Note - Thessalonica (modern Salonica) was a city in Macedonia about 33 mi (53 km) west of Apollonia. The road they traveled over was called the Via Egnatia (Map of the Via Egnatia, Picture of the preserved pavement).
BE SURE TO CONSULT THESE EXCELLENT MAPS: Paul's 1st Missionary Journey (Begins in Acts 13:4) Map Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey (Begins in Acts ) Map Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey (Begins in Acts ) Map They - Who is they?
For one thing, it appears Luke is now not with them (we changed to they) and also Timothy is not mentioned again until Acts , so he may have remained in Philippi.
Amphipolis and Apollonia - Traveling SW from Philippi along the Egnatian Way Amphipolis was about 30 miles from Philippi, and Apollonia another 30 miles beyond. Why Paul hurried through these two large cities (if he did) we do not know but it is surmised he did so because they had no synagogue.
Following the famous Via Egnatia (Map of the Via Egnatia, Picture of the preserved pavement), Paul and Silas went 100 miles from Philippi to Thessalonica. and with its warm springs (Thermae) and public buildings around a market place (Agora), linked to a stoa, it was one of the most heavily populated cites of the area.