Date:

Metro construction reveals the rich history of Thessaloniki

Construction of the Thessaloniki Metro has led to the discovery of countless archaeological treasures from the ancient city of Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki was founded around 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon, who named the city after his wife, Thessalonike, the half-sister of Alexander the Great, serving as the primary port for the regions of Macedonia and Thrace in present-day Greece.

- Advertisement -

After the fall of the Kingdom of Macedon in 168 BC, the city was renamed Thessalonica by the Roman Republic, emerging as an important trading hub on the Via Egnatia, a Roman road that connected Byzantium (later Constantinople) with Dyrrhachium.

With the division of the Roman Empire into the tetrarchy by Emperor Diocletian in AD 293, Thessaloniki became the capital of the territory ruled by Galerius Maximianus Caesar, who constructed numerous public and state buildings, including an imperial palace, a new hippodrome, a triumphal arch, and a mausoleum.

From the first years of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki was considered the second city in the Empire after Constantinople, with a population of 150,000 by the mid-12th century AD under the rule of the Komnenoi emperors.

metro2
Image Credit : AMETRO

During the construction of the Venizelos and Agia Sophia stations on the new Thessaloniki Metro, located within the limits of the historical centre of the city, archaeologists have uncovered over 130,000 archaeological treasures from different periods of Thessaloniki’s history.

- Advertisement -

The Metro follows the axis of the main historical avenue through Thessaloniki, which started at the Golden Gate (Porta Aurea), today’s Vardario Square, and ended at the Kassandriotik Gate, today’s Syntrivani Square.

metro4
Image Credit : AMETRO

The team excavating at the Venizelos Station have uncovered a decumanus (an east–west-oriented road that was one of the primary highways through the city), as well as a Byzantine Avenue and the architectural remains of 15th to 17th century buildings.

Excavations at the Agia Sophia Station have revealed the foundations of Hellenistic and Roman buildings, such as a nymphaeum, a marble paved square, a large mosaic with geometric patterns, a paved road with colonnades, a bathhouse heated by a hypocaust system (underfloor heating), and a line of Byzantine period shops and workshops.

AMETRO

Header Image Credit : AMETRO

 

- Advertisement -
spot_img
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
spot_img
spot_img

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Stone box containing rare ceremonial offerings discovered at Tlatelolco

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a stone box containing ceremonial offerings during excavations of Temple "I", also known as the Great Basement, at the Tlatelolco archaeological zone.

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

BU archaeologists uncover Iron Age victim of human sacrifice

Archaeologists from Bournemouth University have uncovered an Iron Age victim of human sacrifice in Dorset, England.

Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

Study indicates that Firth promontory could be an ancient crannog

A study by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands has revealed that a promontory in the Loch of Wasdale in Firth, Orkney, could be the remains of an ancient crannog.

Archaeologists identify the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II

Archaeologists from Sorbonne University have identified the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II, otherwise known as Ramesses the Great.

Archaeologists find missing head of Deva from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom

Archaeologists from Cambodia’s national heritage authority (APSARA) have discovered the long-lost missing head of a Deva statue from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom.

Archaeologists search crash site of WWII B-17 for lost pilot

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology are excavating the crash site of a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress in an English woodland.