Rotonda

06Jul

Built in 306 A.D. by the romans, Rotunda is one of the oldest religious sites of the city. Galerius Arch (kamara) and Rotunda were basic elements of the palatial complex. Original intensions were predicting its use as a mausoleum, although many archaeologists believe it was initially used as a roman temple. The dimensions of the main structure are quite impressive.

A central dome (30m high) crowns the structure while the original design was implementing an “Occulus” similar to the one in Pantheon, Rome. A beautifully decorated street, filled with columns was connecting this important cylindrical building to the triumphal Arch in the south. It was turned into a Christian temple around 400 A.D., while decorated at the same time with some wonderful paleo-christian mosaics depicting saints and martyrs. The unusually thick walls of the building reveal the reason rotunda survived a number of devastating earthquakes throughout the centuries. Despite being a Christian temple for 1200 years, it was converted into a mosque in 1590 A.D., during the Ottoman occupation period.

Today several discussions are being held regarding its use as a museum, or a church. In December 18, 2015 Rotonda reopened its doors to the public after extended restoration and preservation work, so nowdays everyone will have the chance to enjoy the monument and get a glimpse of its old glory!

 

Monuments of Unesco

06Jul

Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city of Greece, was founded in 315 BC and constituted one of the first centres of Christianity. Many early Christian temples and basilica churches can be found. They were built from the 4th century to the 15th century and they constitute a timeless array, which had considerable influence on the Byzantine world. The mosaics of Rotonda, of Saint Demetrius and Saint David are among the greatest masterpieces of early Christian art.

 

Specifically our city has 15 monuments that are protected by Unesco:

Byzantine Walls of Thessaloniki (4th-5th century)

Rotonda of St George (4th century)

Basilica of Panagia Acheiropoietos (5th century)

Basilica of St Demetrius (7th century)

Cathedral of St David (6th century)

Cathedral of St Sofia (8th century)

Cathedral of Panagia Chalkeon (11th century)

Cathedral of St Catherine (13th century)

Cathedral of St Pantaleon (Panteleimon) (14th century)

Cathedral of the Holy Apostles (14th century)

Cathedral of St Nickolas Orphanos (14th century)

Cathedral of St Sotiros (14th century)

Vlatades Monastery (14th century)

Cathedral of Prophet Elijah (14th century)

Byzantine baths (14th century)