Roman heritage in Thessaloniki - Greece




In Roman times, Thessaloniki was an important trade centre on the main route between Rome and Byzantium - the Via Egnatia - and became the capital of the province of Macedonia. Today, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece.

Roman Palace complex Thessaloniki
Palace complex Thessaloniki
From the esplanade in northern direction you reach the Navarinou place with a part of the exposed former palace complexes. The splendor and prosperity is evident in the surviving marble floors and wall reliefs. The Romans conquered Macedonia 145 BC and made it into a Roman province. Around 300 AD when the Roman Emperor Galerius built his imperial palace in Thessaloniki, the city attained its heyday. Some of his magnificent buildings can still be seen in the city.

Roman Palace ThessalonikiGalerius had earned his merits under the Emperor Diocletian for his great contributions in the fight against Egypt, and later especially against the Sassanids led by the Persian king Narseh. To commemorate these achievements the Arch of Galerius had been built. Unfortunately only a part of the triumphal arch has been preserved.

Automatically, the eyes wander directly to the Rotunda which was used as former mausoleum of Galerius, later as Orthodox church and then as a mosque. The remains of a minaret are evidence of the Ottoman past. Today it is a museum. At the time of construction, the bricks dome with a diameter of about 24m, was the largest in the world. The Rotunda of Galerius is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Approximately 700 meters to the west is the Roman Forum, also called Agora. The former market square was the center of the city, and was equipped with an underground Stoa, a portico, which can be seen quite well from the outside. A part of the forum is the ancient Odeon, the theater.

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