Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki / The church of Acheiropoietos:

The colonnades of the temple. The Theodosian capitals are probably the work of a Constantinopolitan workshop. On the intrados of the arches the original 5th century gilded mosaics can be discerned.

Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki / The church of Acheiropoietos:

A little curiosity from the church of Acheiropoietos. Mosaics were routinely laid atop of other mosaics since they provided a very level ground. Today we may find mosaics buried underneath the soil, but they were not laid on simple soil, but rather on  carefully prepared layers that included older mosaics as well. In these layers the broken sherds of pottery were also included, both is pieces and in ground dust with which a special mortar was made.

Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki/ The Rotunda:

Views from within the temple of Rotunda. The church is still being restored, but at the same time it functions as a church.

Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki / The church of Acheiropoietos:

The church of Acheiropoietos was constructed in the 5th century A.D atop the remnants of a Roman bathhouse complex.

Ever since its foundation the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and up until the 14th century it was known as the Great Church of the Holy Virgin. The church is a typical basilica with a timber roof, three aisles, narthex and galleries.

Only a small part of the original 5th century mosaics survive in the church. Other features include theodosian capitals that were probably constructed in a workshop in a Constantinople. The frescoes surviving are from the 13th century.

In 1430, after the Ottoman conquest of the city, the church was the first to be converted to a mosque by the sultan Murad. After liberation in 1912 the church received its first restoration. In 1922-1923 the structure housed the refugees from Minor Asia*, and no sooner than 1930 it was restored to Christian worship.

*4th row, 2nd picture.



The Macedonian tomb of Agios Athanasios. (4th century B.C)

Usually, I try not to mention here much of the politics that surround archaeology in Greece, but it is pretty strange how the tomb of Amphipolis, and the Antikythera expedition have gained so much prominence in foreign media. Not of course that these two cases are of little historical importance, but in the past there has been a multitude of fascinating discoveries-especially regarding ancient painting-that have hardly gained any traction both abroad and here.

Combined with the fact that a number of archaeological sites and museums, pivotal to the cultural and financial life of small towns and less “tourist” cities, have been receiving no funding during the crisis, and the infiltration of these public spaces by private interests who in the past have damaged the sites during restoration works, or have received public funding that was never spent on the site, it’s evident how government policies still use archaeological achievements for cheap sensationalism meant to titillate nationalistic sentiments.

Government policies have been actively refraining from investing on creating a stronger market abroad on products of intellect regarding Greece’s rich heritage by actual Greek scientists, scholars and artists. And all this just to please private interests, which would rather regurgitate foreign models of monetizing cultural values that not only don’t work, but also treat the wokforce bringing to light this buried world in a condescending and patronizing manner.

The museum of Nicopolis, which I had presented here, closed down for the public recently because a portion of the personnel was laid off. Important museums and sites all over Greece have been remaining closed or unrenovated from time to time and even now because of political spite rather than an actual lack of funds or personnel. This policy damages the cultural growth of these regions and exposes them once more to the dangers of looting after a monumental effort on the part of the archaeologists to turn the citizens of these areas against cultural robbery.

(Thessaloniki) Museum of the Roman Forum:

Photographs* printed on banners and signs depicting the frescoes from the tomb of Agios Athanasios. They a scene from the frieze depicting a symposium, two Macedonian guards from the entrance of the grave, and a pair of warriors from the frieze . The tomb is not available to the general public yet.

From the exhibition "…young and in excellent health" Aspects of youths’ life in ancient Macedonia.


*The top image is from a study for the construction of facilities around the tomb. Macedonian paintings in tombs and graves are some of the few examples of ancient greek painting that have survived relatively intact. You can see some of the paintings from this tomb in greater detail on this blog.

I actually asked if there was a publication with photographs from the tomb, but they told me there wasn’t. These pictures though seem to have been photographed from a publication. I also put up a separate post with the scanned pictures at hellenic-art.

Disclaimer: None of these photographs are mine, they are from the archives of the Ephorate.

Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki/ The church of Hagia Sophia:

Mosaics from the central dome of the church. The church was built in the 8th century A.D, during the Iconoclastic period, so it wasn’t decorated with saintly figures until after the prevalence of the Iconodules- those who championed the representation of holy figures. The mosaic of the dome was laid at the time with an image of the Ascension of Christ- the central figure supported by two angels. Below him, the Virgin Mary, flanked by two angels and the twelve apostles are represented.

Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki / Panagia Chalkeon:

Panagia Chalkeon belongs to a group of churches erected during the rule of the Macedonian dynasty of emperors (867-1057 A.D). It was built in 1028. The church is devoted to the Virgin Mary of the bronze workers.