On the slopes of Olympus, a mere 5 km from the beaches of Pieria, Ancient Dion, the Holy City of Macedonia was found under a covering of undergrowth and water. This city had been a thriving centre of civilization from the time of its foundation for a period of 1,000 years from the 5th c, BC to the 5th c, AD.
We learn from Ancient Greek writers that the Macedonians regularly gathered in Dion to worship the Gods of Olympus, and to make sacrificial offerings, as can be seen from the objects found on the site. It was here that King Archelaos organized athletic competitions and theatrical events, and Philip the Second celebrated his victories at Dion, as did Alexander.
It was here that Alexander gathered together his troops to prepare for his journeys of conquest, worshipping Zeus, King of the Gods of Olympus. In the temple of the Gods of Olympus was a magnificent bronze statue created by Lissippos, which depicted the 25 horsemen who died at the Battle of Granikos.
During the reign of Philip the 5th after a disastrous invasion, the Aetolians ransacked the city. At the Battle of Pydna, 168 BC, the death of Perseas, last King of Macedonia, brought an end to the Macedonian Dynasty. Dion became integrated into the Roman colony during the reign of Augustus.
The second peak of the city came during the Roman occupation in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, when it became "reborn" as a Greek city. The final days of Dion were written when it was destroyed by an earthquake and floods in the 5th c AD. The terrified citizens of the city took flight and sought refuge on the higher slopes of Olympus.
The Holy City of the Macedonians collapsed and its ruins lay beneath the soil of the Macedonian earth.
The archaeological site of Dion (meaning “the city of Zeus” in Greek) is located in the Pieria region, about 30 minutes from Thessaloniki. It boasts a large temple dedicated to Zeus, a series of other smaller temples and a 2,200 year-old exquisite statue of the Greek goddess Hera. It was in Dion that Alexander the Great assembled his army before he began his conquests to the west.
⇠ Thessaloniki 61km
The capital city of Halkidiki is located in the center of the region. Polygyros was built on the southern slopes of Mt. Holomontas at an altitude of 550 meters. Its name is thought to have been inspired by the many twists and turns in the endless surrounding hills. Another explanation stems from “Poly-geros” or “very-strong”, a reference to the good climate but also possibly “Poly-ieros” or “very-holy”, because of a temple that used to exist in the area. There have been references to Polygyros since Byzantine times, and it is where the Halkidiki uprising started on May 17, 1821. Today, small hotels and guesthouses are available for an overnight stay while tavernas and quaint ouzo bars provide traditional local delicacies. Throughout the year Polygyros organizes various cultural events.
• The traditional web of narrow streets with their old houses. The scenic location of Exi Vrises is well-known, named after its six water taps. A restaurant and a coffee shop located here, are the ideal places to relax and grab a bite.
• The Archaeological Museum with findings from the entire Halkidiki (Olynthos, Potidea e.t.c.).
• The Folk life Museum at Karaganis Mansion.
• The Church of Metamorfosi (Transfiguration): Byzantine church with murals, built in an old prison property.
• Country church of Prophitis Elias (Prophet Elijah).
• The Church of St. Demetrios, built in 1871 at the site Bares.
• Church of Saint (Agios) Modestos with the icon of the saint that was painted in the 15th to 16th century by Monks from Mount Athos.
• Just 6km down the road that leads to Taxiarchis -situated above the general hospital- is the location known as Tsoukalas, which offers a panoramic view of the township.
• A short distance from Polygyros, in the area called Paleporta, was the ancient town Apollonia, southwest from where the city lies today. Here, the visitor can still see part of the castle walls foundations.
✓ can’t miss this!
The Carnival feast: 10 days of events that culminate with the parade of carvival floats on the last Sunday of the carnival period.
Taxiarchis is home to a branch of the Forestry Department of the University of Thessaloniki, due to its forest of Christmas trees.
More about Archaeological Museum (Polygyros)
The Museum has a fascinating collection of archaeological finds from all over Halkidiki. Exhibits include clay figurines and coins from Olynthos, vases from Toroni, parts of the roof of the temple of Zeus Ammon from Kallithea, reliquary chests, fisherman’s equipment, lamps, jewels and amphorae from Akanthos, now the town of Ierissos, and funerary steles and the statue of a woman from the 1st century BC, from the sanctuary of a deified hero, from Stratoni.
(More Info: T +30 23710 22148).
We welcome you to visit the Museum. Immense yourself in the stories that it has to tell you, see and listen to how an object can “make” history. In addition, come to experience and enjoy all that a modern museum can offer: educational programs, exhibitions of ancient and modern culture, workshops, academic talks, seminars and recreational activities.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is a space of culture and learning, open for everyone.
6 Manoli Andronikou Street,
PO Box 506 19
Postal Code 540 13, Thessaloniki, Greece
tel. +30 2310 830538
fax. +30 2310 861306
A monument of importance as to the Macedonian burial architecture, the tomb was uncovered at Agios Athanasios, under the large tumulus to the east of the settlement, in the Thessaloniki metropolitan area. Along the east gradient of the tumulus are two non-pillaged cist graves; their investigation offers interesting evidence on the social rank of the defunct and on the burial habits of the time. At the centre of the enormous tumulus, 12m down its peak, is the small single-chambered Macedonian tomb, robbed but richly decorated with murals preserved in excellent condition featuring surprising colours. This exceptional monument is dated to the last quarter of the fourth century BC.
The face of the tomb is entirely painted. The ornate triangle of the pediment presents mythical griffons with all-golden wings, followed by dark-blue triglyphs and white metopes, while the narrow frieze above the entrance narrates a symposium scene, so familiar in literature or on painted vases, yet for the first time so lively represented before the eyes of the visitors. At the centre, six wreathed symposium participants lying languidly on anaklintra (couches) enjoy delicious dishes, guitar and diaulos music performed by young women, while men on foot and on horseback make haste to join them. Some hoplites in Macedonian costume, relaxing on their spears and the characteristic resplendent bucklers, are watching calmly. A moving representation depicts two full-length young men wrapped in long chlamyses standing sorrowful next to the tomb's entrance, eternal guards of their dead fellow warrior. This is undoubtedly the grave of a renowned Macedonian military, to judge from the remains of real armour found in the burial chamber which was nearly destroyed by antiquity looters.
The monument was uncovered in the spring of 1994, during the long excavation conducted by the sixteenth Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at the large tumulus in Agios Athanasios settlement.
It is one of the biggest museums in the world for Byzantine heritage, housing an impressive 2900 artifacts of the early Christian period and the middle and late Byzantine period –its permanent exhibition. The museum accommodates temporary exhibitions from all over the world, while continuing to organize a variety of special educational activities.
⇠ Thessaloniki 108km ⇠ Polygyros 52km
Stagira is a Greek village situated at the foot of the Argirolofos hill. The village stands approximately 8km southwest of the ancient Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle. The village’s former name was Sidirokafsia and dates back from the Byzantine Era. The area is mentioned already in the beginning of the 10th century AC, when the mines were in full operation. Later on, monasteries from Mount Athos took over their management. From the 15th century and through all the years of the Ottoman Occupation, the mining and elaboration of the minerals became more intense, mainly when the village was under the control of Madem Agas. In the 16th century a castle was built, of which there are still remainders to be seen. During mint century the village also had its own mint.
• Aristotle’s park. The Theme park is located in a most beautiful area with a marvellous view towards the gulf of Ierissos and the whole peninsula of Athos. When the weather is good you can see some of the monasteries on Mount Athos using a telescope. It also includes a series of other instruments which when used properly will show the phenomena of nature. All of this is dedicated to the famous philosopher and his work called “the Natural”. The instruments include a prism, optical discs, sounding bars, a compass, sundial and pendulum – all illustrating important phenomena studied by the great philosopher.
• The fortress complex, of which only three partly ruined towers exist today as well as the ruins of the public bath that Ishak Pasha constructed in the 15th century.
• The central temple dedicated to the “Birthday of the Virgin Mary”, built in 1814. Also interesting is the small chapel dedicated to the “Virgin Mary the Spilotissa” built in rock.
• The ruins of Sidirocaussia. Many ruins exist around the hill of St. Demetrios (the site of the bath).
✓ can’t miss this!
Walk in the evergreen paths and admire a panoramic view.
More about Ancient town Stagira
The birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle was a colony of Andros, founded in 655 B.C. The first name of the city was Orthagoria. Ally, initially of the Athenians and later of the Spartans, the city was occupied by Philippos in 349 B.C., after the destruction of Olynthos. Philippos, however, rebuilt the city in order to honour the great philosopher, tutor of Alexander the Great. When Aristotle died, his fellow-citizens transported his bones to Stagira and set up a monument. The excavations in the region began in 1990. The most impressive piece that was brought to light is the wall, at the top of the hill that was built in the classic years. The different ways of construction can be distinguished. The wall determines the western limits of the ancient city, surrounded by the sea. The powerful fortification supplemented round and square towers and ramparts that connected with heavy scales. At the top of the hill also appears the relic of the citadel. At the part behind, between the hills, is the well-maintained remainder from some beautiful, spacious public building, with a gallery and a monumental facade with pillars.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was born in Stagira. He was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Platon and teacher of Alexander the Great. He is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During that time he gave lessons not only to Alexander, but also to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Kassander.
More about Aristotle’s park
Aristotle’s park is located in Stagira. The Theme park includes a series of other instruments which when used properly will show the phenomena of nature such as: Solar, Lens, Pentaphone, Optical Discs, Pendulum, Water turbine, Inertia spheres, Parabolic reflectors and Telescopes. Aristotle’s Park is an excellent place to learn about activities and interactive games. When the weather is good, you are able to see some of the monasteries on Mouth Athos, using the telescopes.
«Just as it is true that the right to develop is identical with the right to eternal youth, so it is true that tomorrow is always shaped using the materials of yesterday. [...] Only then can a civilization have sturdy foundations, when it is rooted in a profound awareness of its past, of its immediate past».
D. Loukopoulos, 1938
The F.E.M.M.-Th. explores and studies the traditional culture of recent times in the region of northern Greece. It gathers, preserves, safeguards and records the material evidence of that past, making it available to the public for purposes of study, instruction and amusement.
The Museum’s collections comprise some 20,000 items of all kinds - associated with agriculture, livestock breeding, fishing, as well as crafts such as weaving, sewing, embroidery, metalwork, carpentry and ceramics. These are artefacts which served man’s basic needs for food, housing and clothing, as well as other items playing a part in his social and spiritual life.
Through knowledge of the society of yesterday the Museum hopes to promote a better understanding today's world. Its role is first and foremost a social one. Through its varied activities (exhibitions, educational programmes, publications and other activities) it communicates with the public and participates in the culture and life of the community.
address: 68 Vas. Olgas Str. Postcode 546 42, Thessaloniki, Greece
phone: 0030/2310830591, 0030/2310889840
fax: 0030/2310844848, 0030/2310886095
every day (excl. Thursday) 9.00-15.00,
Wednesday: 10.00 - 22.00
normal rate: 2€ | half rate: 1€
Official website: http://www.lemmth.gr
A place of universal interest, the ruins of Aristotle's School, is a found only 2 kilometers away from the contemporary Naoussa, at the district of Isvoria Here is the place with the racing water and the deeply-shaded caves, mentioned by the ancient writers, where the greatest philosopher of the antiquity taught the greatness of classical Greek thought and the ideals of the Platonic philosophy to the King's of Macedonia, Phillip II, son, Alexander and the other nobles of the Macedonian court. The encounter of these two Great personalities of the ancient world at the Nympheon of Mieza would definitely affect the future of mankind, and of all Western Civilization.
The area of the Nympheon, that is the sanctuary dedicated to the Nymphs, is a very impressive natural landscape, where the ancient remnants - a wall prop of a two-floored arcade with Ionic columns forming a Π- combined with the three natural caves which are found there, constitute the main grounds of the School. The vertical surface of the rock, where the openings for supporting the roof's girders are discernable, comprised the back-end of the shady stoa, (built at 350 B.C. and later), where Aristotle taught «the doctrines of morals and politics" (Plutarch VII, 668) to the youths of the Macedonian Nobility. The landscape, where the Great Teacher rambled with his students on the fully vegetation riverbank trails, among calm and cool streams of water, gushed from the springs around, is completed by an even greater cave, a little further off, with two carved entrances, obviously for devotional use.
The building of the Military Station (Station Militaire) of the Railroad company «Jonction - Salonique - Constantinople» at Thessaloniki.
Is located at the west side of Thessaloniki approxamately 500 meters after the overpass bridge of Monastiriou road to the exit of the city, between main rail lines emanating from the New Railroad Station and convent within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of Kordelio - Evosmos.
The building had been constructed at the end of the 19th century (in particular from 1891 until 1894) when the city was part of the Ottoman Empire. It had been designed by the Italian architect Pierro Arigoni who had also designed the Casa Bianca building during 1911.
The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle has perhaps the richest of all collections of relics and documents from the period of the Macedonian Struggle. Some of these items form part of the Museum's permanent collection, while others remain in the Research Centre for Macedonian History and Documentation (KEMIT) or in store for use after the reconfiguration of the Museum's exhibition space.
Museum for the Macedonian Struggle 23 Proxenou Koromila, GR 54622, Thessaloniki, Greece
The Museum is largely the result of forty years of untiring efforts by Stavros Kovrakis, a passionate collector of the treasures hidden in the seas of Greece. It also enjoys the support of the Moudania Yacht Club. The Museum has an educational and research role, also doing much to promote the local identity and keep alive its links with its history. The items on display include ancient anchors, fishing nets, fishing rods and hooks, compasses, beacons and lamps and many other intriguing exhibits. There are 3D recreations of a variety of fishing techniques, demonstrating how the different kinds of vessel and net are used, with replicas of fishing boats and a rich archive of documents and illustrations. One of the most fascinating items is the bouyiandes, a traditional fishing vessel formerly seen in the Sea of Marmara, introduced to Greece by the refugees from Asia Minor. The Museum also offers a thrilling insight into the strange and magical world beneath the sea, with its vast range of plant and animal life.
(More Info: H +30 23730 26166)
On the ground floor of the Aretra building in the central square of Athytos there is a display of folk exhibits created on the initiative of the painter Nikos Paralis. The items represent the whole cycle of rural life in the region, with domestic utensils, tools, implements and so on. Open: afternoons.
The excavation by Professor Manolis Andronikos and his associates under the Great Tumulus of Vergina village in Imathia, Central Macedonia in 1977 brought to light the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century in Greece. Today’s Vergina (Ancient Aigai), in the foothills of Mt. Pieria, was the first capital of ancient kingdom of Macedonia, called Aigai. The site of the Royal Tombs under a modern roof hosts the main excavation, as well as an exhibition of the major finds from the burials. It is protected by UNESCO as world cultural heritage and comprises a unique discovery of an enormous universal impact.
In the same area, inhabited continuously since the 3rd millennium BC, are also the ruins of an acropolis, palace, theater, shrines and private buildings, and hundreds of common graves of an extensive necropolis of the ancient city of Aigai until Roman times.
The exhibition’s shelter has the external form of the Great Tumulus, a man-made mound, while the underground building has been housing since November 1997 tombs and treasures found in them. This sheltered group includes three Macedonian tombs: the intact tomb of Philip II (II) with a hunting scene fresco painting. Intact is also the so-called Tomb of the Prince (III), which may belong to Alexander IV, grandson of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great and another ruined and plundered Macedonian tomb (IV) of the third BC century.
The visitor will also see a plundered a cist family tomb (I), known as the “Tomb of Persephone”, with the incomparable fresco of the abduction of Persephone by Hades and a ruined building named "Heroon", probably used for the worship of the dead royal members buried next door. Some of the major finds exhibited here are the two golden urns, containing the bones of Philip II and one of his wives, two oak and one myrtle golden wreaths worn by the royal dead. On display is also the rare gold-and-purple embroidered cloth, which wrapped the bones of the royal wife, along with her golden diadem of a unique art, two ivory symposium beds, weapons and armor of Philip II, valuable symposium utensils of the royal family and the silver urn of "Prince."
A glimpse of Thessaloniki’s pulsating contemporary culture awaits you at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, presenting local and international art collections in all forms of art, such as photography, painting, engraving, mixed media and video installations.
The Tomb of Lyson and Kallikles is one of the four Macedonian tombs of Lefkadia, built along the ancient road connecting the town of Mieza with Pella, the capital of the Macedonian Kingdom. The pottery discovered inside the tomb and the prosopography of the deceased indicate a date from the late third to the middle of the second centuries BC. Although the smallest tomb of the group, it is distinguished by its ornate interior. The tomb belonged to the family of Aristophanes, of which five generations were buried here. Their names are inscribed inside the rectangular niches set in two superimposed rows along the walls.
The tomb consists of a narrow ante-chamber and a rectangular burial chamber oriented north-south. The burial chamber was entered from the south through a double door. The ante-chamber has a flat ceiling and its walls have painted representations of a sprinkler and an altar. Over the door leading into the burial chamber are the names of the first two deceased, Lyson and Kallikles sons of Aristophanes. The burial chamber has twenty-two niches, of which seventeen received the ashes and grave gifts of deceased members of the family. The trompe-l'oeil Ionic antae give the impression of a true peristyle inside a garden. A continuous garland of leaves, pomegranates and ribbons crowns the peristyle, while the tympana on the short sides have paintings of weapons like those often placed as grave gifts - helmets, swords and two different types of Macedonian shields. The vividness of the colours and good state of preservation of the wall-paintings are due to the fact that the earthen tumulus covering the tomb was not removed after the monument's discovery, thus keeping the temperature and humidity inside the tomb stable. The stylistic similarities between the paintings of this tomb and the Second Pompeian Style indicate the close contacts between Hellenistic Greece and Republican Rome; this particular style (dubbed 'Architectural Style' by the archaeologist Stella Miller) may be the beginning or may have inspired the Second Pompeian Style.
The tomb was discovered by chance in 1942 and was excavated by Charalambos Makaronas who published a brief report. It was fully studied by Stella Miller. The monument is closed to the public in order to preserve the stable conditions which allowed for its remarkable preservation. A metal shelter was built over the tomb in 1999 for additional protection.