Galerian complex: balancing between the Roman and Byzantine world

After two posts about trips of mine, I decided to show you a part of the history of my town, Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and its located in the north of Greece. Thessaloniki has a long and very interesting history, but now I'm going to show you a small part of it. The three remaining monuments in this post are part of The Galerian Complex, dedicated to the Roman emperor, Galerius. Having risen in power, Galerius chose Thessaloniki as one of the capitals of his province.The complete complex consists of more monuments, but only those three are saved.

The palace of Galerius is one of Thessaloniki’s most important late antique monuments, and the only one of this period in Europe which is preserved in nearly its original form to such an extent. Galerius constructed a breathtaking palatial building complex. Inside this complex, were located not only the royal habitats with their auxiliary spaces, but also public administration rooms, shrines and temples while there were also sports facilities – entertainment sites. The main palace was located in today’s Navarinou Square and Dimitriou Gounari Street. It had a view to the sea and was composed by numerous sites, most of which have been destroyed, lying underneath streets, parks and high residential buildings. Unfortunately the monument is currently close, so I couldn't go inside the palace to explore it more.

Walking at Dimitriou Gounari street, you can see some more ruins from the palace complex:

When reaching Egnatia street, the other two remains of the Galerius colpex are visible; The Arch of Galerius (known as Kamara, meaning Arch in Greek) and the Rotonda of Galerius.

The arch of Galerius is located at the heart of Thessaloniki's center. It is one of the most usual spots of meeting friends. The arch was commissioned as a triumphal monument by emperor Galerius in order to celebrate the victorious campaign against the Sassanid Persians in 298 A.D. and the capture of their capital Ctesiphon. Nowadays, only some parts of it still remain in good condition. On the surface of these two main columns that have survived, we can find marble plates with carved illustrations, depicting scenes from the glorious and victorious Galerius expedition in Anatolia versus the Persians in 297.


Last but certainly not least, the Rotonda, one of the oldest and most imposing monuments of Thessaloniki and one Unesco's classified monuments. Rotonda was from 1523 until 1591 the metropolitan church of Thessaloniki, while in 1591 it was captured by the Turks and was transformed into a muslim mosque. The Ottoman Empire did not induce serious damages to the building, but it left its marks, with most evident the minaret, that was built on the west side, the only one surviving today in the town. After the liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912, the building was handed back to Christian worship, and in 1917 by edict of Eleftherios Venizelos, it was transformed into a "Macedonian Museum." Since then, Rotonda served as an exhibition and museum area, and occasionally it worked as a temple.


Credit for the historical information: and 

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