• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Greece reopens Alexander the Great’s palace at Aigai


Jan 6, 2024


In Greece, Aigai, one of the most important ancient royal capitals and the place where Alexander the Great was crowned, will reopen to the public on Sunday after years of restoration.

The sprawling site situated near Vergina, in northern Greece, was the ancient first capital of the kingdom of Macedonia and home of the Temenid dynasty — which would rule Macedonia for over three centuries, spawning leaders such as Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great.

Aigai is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its grounds include a lavish palace — the biggest in classical Greece and three times the size of the Parthenon — a theater, banquet halls, ornate mosaics and a necropolis including more than 300 burial mounds, with the royal tomb of Alexander’s father, Philip II, thought to be among them.

“After many years of painstaking work, we can reveal the palace. … What we are doing today is an event of global importance,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at an inauguration event at the site Friday, the Associated Press reported.

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The palace, built more than 2,300 years ago, covers approximately 15,000 square meters.

The renovation has taken 16 years and cost more than 20 million euros, including financial support from the European Union, the Associated Press reported.

The capital was home to artists, painters and playwrights, highlighting the city’s prosperity at the time, according to the official archaeological website. Under Philip II, a building spree transformed the city, which hosted sacred ceremonies, grand processions and feasts.

It was at one such feast that Phillip was stabbed by an assassin, and his son Alexander became king. He would embark on a campaign to transform the Hellenistic world, and his empire stretched from northern Africa to Asia.

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“Aigai provides important information about the culture, history and society of the ancient Macedonians, the Greek border tribe that preserved age-old traditions and carried Greek culture to the outer limits of the ancient world,” UNESCO said, calling it “among the most important archaeological sites in Europe.”

The city of Aigai was destroyed after a defeat by the Romans in 168 BC and fell into decline, until it was excavated in 1977 by Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos.


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