The Heptapyrgion, modern Eptapyrgio popularly known by its Ottoman Turkish name Yedi Kule, is a Byzantine and Ottoman-era fortress situated on the north-eastern corner of the Acropolis of Thessaloniki in Greece. Despite its name, which in both languages means "Fortress of Seven Towers", it features ten, was named after the Yedikule Fortress in Constantinople, it served as the major redoubt of the city's acropolis, as well as the seat of its garrison commander in Ottoman times, until the late 19th century. It was converted to a prison, which remained open until 1989. References to the infamous Yedi Kule prison abound in the Greek rebetika songs. Restoration and archaeological work continues to this day; the Heptapyrgion is located in the north-eastern corner of the city's acropolis. Although the urban core of the city dates from its foundation by Cassander in 316 BC, the walls that defined the medieval and early modern city, that are still visible today, date to the late Antiquity, when the Roman emperor Theodosius I fortified the city anew.
The five northern towers of the Heptapyrgion, along with the curtain wall that connects them, forming the northern corner of the acropolis date to this period. Another theory, dating their construction to the 9th century, has been brought forth; the southern five towers and wall were built in the 12th century, thus forming a fortified redoubt in the interior of the city's citadel. This fortress was maintained and rebuilt in the Palaiologan period; the nature of the reconstruction and dating of the southern portion of the fort is disputed. There is no reference to this fort in the older literary sources, the ones are ambiguous: a kastellion is mentioned in 1208–1209, a castellan with the Tzakones of the castle" in 1235. At the same time, the koulas of Thessaloniki, present in the chronicles of the 14th and 15th centuries, could refer to the entire citadel, not just the Heptapyrgion; the principal reliable testimony regarding the fortress is the inscription placed over its gate, which indicates that it was rebuilt by Çavuş Bey, the city's first Ottoman governor, in 1431 after the Ottoman conquest of the city: Rather than a new construction, disproved by archaeology, the work of Çavuş Bey may have been limited to the restoration of the bastions over the fort's monumental entrance.
In a 1591 account, the fort, referred to as the Iç Kale, serves as the residence of the city's military governor and has a 300-strong garrison. Another inscription, lost today but known from the writings of the 17th-century Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi, testified to another restoration in 1646. An inventory of the arms and munitions contained in the various forts of the city in 1733 provides the Turkish names for the ten towers: Fener Kulesi, Makaslı Kule, Su Kulesi, Cephane Kulesi, Hapishane Kulesi, Kız Kulesi, Zahire Ambar Kulesi, Hisar Peçe, Kanlı Burgaz, the Çingene Tabyalar; the latter three were considered as individual forts, unlike the others, which are classified as simple towers. In the late 19th century, the fortress fell out of use as a military installation and was converted into a prison. During the 1890s, the fortress was converted into a prison; the exact date is not known with certainty, but the prison is mentioned in an 1899 map of the city, thus providing a terminus ante quem for the change.
This conversion entailed the removal of all previous buildings in the fort's interior, of which no trace now survives. The fortifications themselves were only little modified, although their role was reversed: designed to protect its residents from outside dangers, they know served to isolate the inmates from the outside world; the prison was for long the main penitentiary facility of the city, housed all convicted, regardless of sex or crime. New buildings were built along both sides of the walls, to fulfil the various needs of the fort's new role; the interior courtyard was partitioned into five separate enclosures by fences radiating from a central watchtower. Three featured a two-storey building housing the cells and a guard post, while the other two held the prison chapel and other annexes. A fourth cell block was situated close to the north-eastern tower, was destroyed during the Second World War; the exterior buildings, on the fort's southern side, housed the administration, the women's prison and, to the west, the isolation cells.
The prison is well-known through its frequent occurrence in the underground rebetiko genre, many songs feature its colloquial name, Yedi Kule. Ιt acquired notoriety through its use to house political prisoners during the Metaxas Regime, the Axis Occupation of Greece, in the post-war period from the Greek Civil War up to the Regime of the Colonels. The prison functioned until 1989; the site was taken over by the Ministry of Culture and the regional Byzantine archaeology service, the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine and Modern Antiquities, which moved some of its offices there. The ephorate had been active in the restoration works of 1973 on the north-eastern curtain wall, again between 1983 and 1985 in the restoration of the damages caused by an earthquake in 1978; the systematic archaeological study and restoration of the Heptapyrgion began in 1990. The first phase ended in 1995, with the completing of a photogrammetric architectural survey and the creation of a digital model of
Byzantine Bath (Thessaloniki)
The Byzantine Bath of the Upper Town in Thessaloniki is one of the few and best preserved of the Byzantine baths that have survived from the Byzantine period in Greece. It is located on the Theotokopoulou Street in the Upper Old Town of Thessaloniki; the baths date to the late 12th/early 13th century, functioned continuously until 1940, when they shut down due to World War II and the German occupation of Greece. The Byzantine sources do not mention it, hence it is that it belonged to a monastery complex. In Ottoman times, it was known as Kule Hammam, i.e. "bath of the citadel". The bath's long use led to numerous alterations of the original structure over time; the original architecture follows the typical conventions of Roman baths. The original entrance in the south leads to the rectangular frigidarium rooms, which were used as dressing rooms. Came two vaulted tepidarium rooms and two caldarium rooms; the latter featured hypocausts below the floor. One was covered by a dome supported by an octagonal base with eight windows, the other had a domed ceiling.
To the north of the baths was the cistern that provided it with water, with a hearth beneath to warm it. In Byzantine times the building was alternately used by men and women, but in the Ottoman period the bath was divided into male and female sections, by blocking off each pair of rooms from each other; the bath was one of several in the city—the 14th-century writer Nikephoros Choumnos claims that Thessaloniki had more baths than inhabitants—but is the only surviving in Thessaloniki and the largest and most complete of the handful of Byzantine baths surviving elsewhere in Greece: five ruined public baths—two in Corinth, one in Sparta, one in Paramythia, one in Ioannina Castle—and one each in the monasteries of Kaisariani and Zoodochos Pigi. Although closed since 1940, the bath was subject to neglect and damage during the 1978 earthquakes, only survived standing through heavy propping up by the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities and the protection offered by an external metal sheet covering.
In 1988, it was included among the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Following four years of restoration work, the bath was re-opened to the public as a museum and cultural space in June 2015. Kourkoutidou-Nikolaidou, E.. Wandering in Byzantine Thessaloniki, Kapon Editions, ISBN 960-7254-47-3
Church of Panagia Chalkeon
The Church of Panagia Chalkeon is an 11th-century Byzantine church in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The church is located at Dikastirion Square, north of the Via Egnatia at the point where it crosses the Aristotelous Avenue, which leads to the Aristotelous Square; the archaeological site of the city's Roman forum is located northeast, while its name, which translates as "the Virgin of the Copper-smiths", derives from its proximity to the area traditionally occupied by the city's coppersmiths. According to the founder's inscription above the west entrance, the church was built in 1028 by the protospatharios Christopher, katepano of Longobardia, his wife and two daughters; the inscription reads: This once profane place is dedicated as an eminent church to the Mother of God by Christopher, the most illustrious royal protospatharios and governor of Lagouvardia, his wife Maria, their children Nicephorus and Catacale, in the month of September, indiction XII, in the year 6537. Christopher's tomb was located in an arcosolium on the church's northern wall.
The ground plan is that of a classic "cross-in-square-form" typical of Macedonian-period architecture, with four columns and three domes, one central and two over the narthex. The entire building is built of bricks, which gave it the popular nickname "Red Church"; the exterior is enlivened with a variety of arches and pilasters, elements which can be traced to Constantinopolitan influence. The use of arches with several setbacks gives the building a "sculpted" appearance. A marble cornice runs around the whole church, giving the building distinctive upper and lower sections; the lower section is more spare, while the upper section is decoratively distinguished by half-columns between arches, saw-tooth courses where the wall meets the roof. The interior of the church is divided into three sections: The narthex, the naos, the sanctuary; the narthex is covered by three barrel vaults and has an upper gallery, used as a sacristy. There was never, however, a stair leading up to it. Anna Tsitouridou speculates that it may have been accessed by a ladder through a now closed up arched window on the northwest corner of the church.
In the naos, four light grey marble columns form a square and support the arches of the four barrel-vaults that make up the arms of the cross going out. In the center of the square is the dome. Pendentives between the arches create a circular base for the dome above; the dome is 3.8m wide and its height is 5.3m. It is octagonal, containing sixteen windows in one atop the other; the arms of the cross can be seen on the exterior, with saddle back roofs over their great barrel vaults, triangular pediments emphasising their ends. Domical vaults cover the four bays between the arms of the cross. Though founders' tombs are placed in the narthex of their churches, at Panagia Chalkeon the tomb believed to be Christopher the founder’s is found in a niche in the north wall of the naos; the sanctuary is divided into three sections: The central main body of the sanctuary, the prothesis, the diaconicon. The central section of the sanctuary has a wide apse, “semicircular within, three-sided without.” The other two bays have apses “semicircular inside and out.”
The church has some anomalies. There is sculptural decoration on the capitals of the four columns in the naos, the doorframes of the narthex; the column capitals are decorated with reliefs of laurel leaves and knot patterns which contain crosses and rosettes in them. The lintel of the royal door leading from the narthex into the naos is decorated with a twisting band design, forming squares and circles in relief; the circles contain rosettes and it is discernible that crosses used to be in the squares, but have been scraped off. The walls were covered with paintings, but the majority of the paintings have fallen down, few of the remaining paintings are in good condition; the paintings are from the time the church was built, except a few from the 14th century whose remnants can be viewed on the west wall. According to Sharon Gerstel, “The church of Panagia ton Chalkeon... preserves one of the earliest multi-register sanctuary programs in Macedonia.”In the conch of the apse stands the Virgin Orant flanked by two archangels.
Two registers below, in the bottom register of the sanctuary, are four half-length depictions of "anargyroi," or “unmercenaries”: healers who refused payment for their healing services. According to Gerstel, the presence of non-episcopal figures in the bema dates the iconographical program to "a period when a wider variety of saints could be located in the sanctuary.”Inscribed on the eastern arch of the church are these words: “Beholding the altar of the Lord, Stand trembling, O man! For within, Christ is sacrificed daily, and the powers of incorporeal angels, Circle around in fear.”This message borders a depiction of the apostles taking the last supper, the earliest extant representation of the scene in the bema of a Byzantine church. In this version of the last supper, the offering of the bread is painted on the south wall of the bema, the offering of the wine on the north wall opposite; this in effect, according to Gerstel, engulfs the altar and the celebrant and equates “the priest with Christ as the giver of the sacrifice.”In the main dome there is a
Macedonia is a geographic and former administrative region of Greece, in the southern Balkans. Macedonia is the largest and second-most-populous Greek region, with a population of 2.38 million in 2017. The region is mountainous, with most major urban centres such as Thessaloniki and Kavala being concentrated on its southern coastline. Together with Thrace, sometimes Thessaly and Epirus, it is part of Northern Greece. Greek Macedonia encompasses the southern part of the region of Macedonia, making up 51% of the total area of the region, it contains Mount Athos, an autonomous monastic region of Greece. Macedonia forms part of Greece's national frontier with three countries: Bulgaria to the north-east, the Republic of North Macedonia to the north, Albania to the north-west. Macedonia incorporates most of the territories of ancient Macedon, a kingdom ruled by the Argeads and whose most celebrated members were Alexander the Great and his father Philip II; the name Macedonia was applied to a number of widely-differing administrative areas in the Roman and Byzantine empires, resulting in modern geographical Macedonia.
Prior to the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1830 Macedonia was identified as a Greek province, albeit without defined geographical borders. Modern Macedonia was established in 1913, in the aftermath of the Treaty of Bucharest which ended the Balkan Wars, it continued as an administrative subdivision of Greece until the administrative reform of 1987, when it was divided into the regions of West Macedonia, Central Macedonia, part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, the latter containing the whole Greek part of the region of Thrace. The region remains an important economic centre for Greece. Macedonia accounts for the majority of Greece's agricultural production and is a major contributor to the country's industrial and tourism sectors. Central Macedonia is Greece's fourth-most-popular tourist region and the most popular region, not an island, it is home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Aigai, one of the ancient Macedonian capital cities. Pella, which replaced Aigai as the capital of Macedon in the fourth century BC, is located in Greek Macedonia.
The name Macedonia derives from the Greek Μακεδονία, a kingdom named after the ancient Macedonians, who were the descendants of a Bronze-age Greek tribe. Their name, Μακεδόνες, is cognate to the Ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning "tall, slim", it was traditionally derived from the Indo-European root *mak-, meaning'long' or'slender'. Linguist Robert S. P. Beekes supports the idea that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology. However, Beekes' views are not mainstream; the region has also been known as Македония in Bulgarian and the local South Slavic dialects, Makedonya in Turkish, Machedonia in Aromanian or Vlach. Macedonia lies at the crossroads of human development between the Aegean and the Balkans; the earliest signs of human habitation date back to the palaeolithic period, notably with the Petralona cave in, found the oldest yet known European humanoid, Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis. In the Late Neolithic period, trade took place with quite distant regions, indicating rapid socio-economic changes.
One of the most important innovations was the start of copper working. According to Herodotus, the history of Macedonia began with the Makednoi tribe, among the first to use the name, migrating to the region from Histiaeotis in the south. There they lived near Thracian tribes such as the Bryges who would leave Macedonia for Asia Minor and become known as Phrygians. Macedonia was named after the Makednoi. Accounts of other toponyms such as Emathia are attested to have been in use before that. Herodotus claims that a branch of the Macedonians invaded Southern Greece towards the end of the second millennium B. C. Upon reaching the Peloponnese the invaders were renamed Dorians, triggering the accounts of the Dorian invasion. For centuries the Macedonian tribes were organized in independent kingdoms, in what is now Central Macedonia, their role in internal Hellenic politics was minimal before the rise of Athens; the Macedonians claimed to be Dorian Greeks and there were many Ionians in the coastal regions.
The rest of the region was inhabited by various Thracian and Illyrian tribes as well as coastal colonies of other Greek states such as Amphipolis, Potidea and many others, to the north another tribe dwelt, called the Paeonians. During the late 6th and early 5th century BC, the region came under Persian rule until the destruction of Xerxes at Plataea. During the Peloponnesian War, Macedonia became the theatre of many military actions by the Peloponnesian League and the Athenians, saw incursions of Thracians and Illyrians, as attested by Thucidydes. Many Macedonian cities were allied to the Spartans, but Athens maintained the colony of Amphipolis under her control for many years; the kingdom of Macedon, was reorganised by Philip II and achieved the union of Greek states by forming the League of Corinth. After his assassination, his son Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedon and carrying the title of Hegemon of League of Corinth started his long campaign towards the east. Macedonia remained an important and powerful kingdom until the Battle of Pydna, in which the Roman general Aemilius Paulus defeated King Perseus of Macedon, ending the reign of the Antigonid dynasty over Macedonia.
For a brief period a Macedonian republic
Vlatades Monastery or Vlatadon Monastery is a monastery in Thessaloniki, Greece. Built in the 14th century during the late Byzantine Empire, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos
The Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos is an early 14th-century Byzantine church in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The church is located in the northeastern corner of the old city, just inside the eastern wall, between the Irodotou and Apostolou Pavlou streets; the church's name, "Saint Nicholas the Orphan", is first attested in the 17th and 18th centuries, refers to its otherwise unknown ktetor. From its interior decoration, the building is dated to the period 1310–1320; the church formed part of a monastery, traces of which survive to the east. The church was built as a simple, single-aisled edifice with a wooden gabled roof. Aisles were added on three sides, they form an ambulatory, under. The masonry features irregular layers of brick and stone, with a few ceramics on the eastern side and brick decoration on the eastern and western sides. In the interior, the central aisle is connected to the others with double openings decorated with reused late antique capitals; the church's original marble templon survives.
The church is most notable for its frescoes, contemporary with the church's construction, which cover the entire interior surface. The frescoes are an example of the Thessalonican school at the height of the "Palaiologan Renaissance", their creator may be the same who decorated the Hilandar monastery in Mount Athos in 1314; the church has been linked to the Serbian king Stephen Uroš II Milutin, known to have sponsored churches in the city, on account of the depiction in the main aisle of St George Gorgos, the Serbian ruler's patron saint, of St. Clemens of Ohrid, a favourite motif of the Serbian churches; the monastery continued functioning throughout the Ottoman period. The frescoes were uncovered in 1957–1960 during restoration works. Media related to Church of Saint Nicolas the Orphan, Thessaloniki at Wikimedia Commons
Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, part of Veroia municipality in Imathia, Central Macedonia. Vergina was established in 1922 in the aftermath of the population exchanges after the Treaty of Lausanne and was a separate municipality until 2011, when it was merged with Veroia under the Kallikratis Plan, it is now a municipal unit within Veroia, with an area 69.047 km2. Vergina is best known as the first capital of Macedon, it was there when in 336 BC Philip II was assassinated in the theatre and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. The ancient site was discovered in 1976 and excavated under the leadership of archaeologist Manolis Andronikos; the excavation unearthed the burial sites of many kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, unlike so many other tombs, had not been disturbed or looted. It is the site of an extensive royal palace; the archaeological museum of Vergina was built to house all the artifacts found at the site and is one of the most important museums in Greece.
Aigai has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status as "an exceptional testimony to a significant development in European civilization, at the transition from classical city-state to the imperial structure of the Hellenistic and Roman periods". The existence of an early Macedonian fortress named Aegae is reported by Justin, was long identified as Edessa; the discovery in 1976 of substantial remains near Vergina, just east of the Haliacmon, shifted the scholarly consensus to the effect that Aegae is to be identified with this site. Ancient sources give conflicting accounts of the origins of the Argead dynasty. Alexander I is the first historic figure and, based on the line of succession, the beginnings of the Macedonian dynasty have been traditionally dated to 750 BC. Herodotus says that the Argead dynasty was an ancient Greek royal house led by Perdiccas I who fled from Argos, in 650 BC. Aigai is the name of several ancient cities, derived from the name of a legendary founder, but etymologized as "city of goats" by Diodorus Siculus, who reports it was named so by Perdiccas I, advised by the Pythian priestess to build the capital city of his kingdom where goats led him.
From archaeology it now seems certain that Aigai developed and remained until the end an organised collection of villages spatially representing the aristocratic structure of tribes centred on the power of the king. Indeed, Aigai never became most of its inhabitants lived in surrounding villages. From Aigai the Macedonians spread to the central part of Macedonia and displaced the local population of Pierians. From 513 to 480 BC Aigai was part of the Persian Empire, but Amyntas I managed to maintain its relative independence, avoid Satrapy and extend its possessions; the city wall was built in the 5th century by Perdiccas II. At the end of the 5th century Archelaus I brought to his court artists and philosophers from all over the Greek world: it was, for example, at Aigai that Euripides wrote and presented his last tragedies. At the beginning of the 4th century BC, Archelaus transferred the Macedonian capital north-east to Pella on the central Macedonian plain. Aegae retained its role as the sacred city of the Macedonian kingdom, the site of the traditional cult centres, a royal palace and the royal tombs.
For this reason it was here that Philip II was attending the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to King Alexander of Epirus when he was murdered by one of his bodyguard in the theatre. His was the most lavish funeral ceremony of historic times held in Greece. Laid on an elaborate gold and ivory deathbed wearing his precious golden oak wreath, the king was surrendered, like a new Hercules, to the funeral pyre; the bitter struggles between the heirs of Alexander in the 3rd century adversely affected the city. After the overthrow of the Macedonian kingdom by the Romans in 168 BC, both old and new capitals were destroyed, the walls pulled down and all buildings burned. In the 1st century AD, a landslide destroyed what had been rebuilt (excavations establish that parts were still inhabited at that time. Between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD the population moved down from the foothills of the Pierian range to the plain, all that remained was a small settlement whose name alone Palatitsia indicated its former importance.
The modern settlement of Vergina was established in 1922, between the two pre-existing villages of Kutleš and Barbeš part of the Ottoman Beylik of Palatitsia. The town was settled in the course of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey following the Treaty of Lausanne, by Greek families from Bulgaria and Asia Minor; the name Vergina was a suggestion by the metropolitan of Veroia, chosen for a legendary queen Vergina, said to have ruled somewhere north of the Haliacmon and to have had her summer palace near Palatitsia. Vergina was a separate municipality from 1922 until 2011; the population of Vergina municipality as of 2011 was 2,464. Archaeologists were interested in the burial mounds around Vergina as early as the 1850s, supposing that the site of Aigai was in the vicinity. Excavations began in 1861 under the French archaeologist Leon Heuzey, sponsored by Napoleon III. Parts of a large building, considered to be one of the palaces of Antigonus III Doson destroyed by fire, were discovered near Palatitsa, which preserved the memory of a palace in its modern