New archaeological find in Thessaloniki subway rekindles old tensions in Greece

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
New archaeological find in Thessaloniki subway rekindles old tensions in GreeceA marble paved square from the Byzantine times was discovered because of the work done for the creation of Thessaloniki's Metropolitan Subway

The new impressive archaeological discovery in the the Greek city of Thessaloniki is a marble paved square from the Byzantine times which was discovered because of the work done for the creation of the city’s Metropolitan Subway.

It is the first time that such a finding comes to light; a similar shaped square paved with marble is found only in the city of Jerash in Jordan. The square goes back to the 6th century AD and is just a few blocks from the Venizelos Station where the  Byzantine avenue of Thessaloniki, the famous “Decumanus Maximus” has been revealed.  

According to the opinion of Greece's Central Archaeological Council signed by Minister of Culture Ms. Lydia Koniordou, the Byzantine avenue will remain as is while, taking into account the importance of the finding, the issue is expected to come up for discussion at the CAC.

Thessaloniki archaeologists against Attiko Metro company

Tensions between Thessaloniki archaeologists and Attiko Metro, the company which is overseeing work to build the Thessaloniki subway system, have marked the near-decade since construction began in 2006. Recently, the two sides reached a compromise that calls for the temporary removal of ruins in order to allow construction to proceed unimpeded. If the deal holds, it will enable the preservation of 80 percent of discovered artifacts. 

The ruins unearthed in Greece’s second city have led some to hail it as a “second Pompeii.” Current excavations are focused on the so-called “intra muros” stations – those that sit within the limits of the city’s Theodosian walls – and the “extra muros” stations – those located outside these late antique fortifications.

According to BBC, "rather than joy and excitement, the unearthing of what an academic called "a Byzantine Pompeii" at the heart of modern day Thessaloniki, Greece's second city, has caused bitter controversy in a country clutching at economic straws."

Kathimerini reports that works on two intra muros stations, Aghia Sofia and Venizelou, have unearthed sections of the city’s Decomanus Maximus, the east-west boulevard that ran through Thessaloniki and most other cities of the Roman Empire. Excavations of this avenue – the medieval “Boulevard of the Byzantines” – have focused on a vast complex of fountains and colonnaded walkways. The late antique road was initially of marble construction; by the 6th century CE it had been repaved with rectangular stone slabs. Digging at the site of the adjacent Venizelou station has revealed a square of marble construction flanked by workshops and bazaar-style stalls. These ruins are nestled quietly beneath the historical Odos Egnatia, a street that takes its name from the famous legionnaire highway that ran through northern Greece in antiquity.

Metro construction extra muros – beyond the formal limits of the ancient city – have provided rare glimpses of early Christian building practice. In the east, at the construction site for Sintrivani station, a late antique church has been uncovered that stands atop a pre-Christian religious structure; its mosaic flooring depicts the mythical bird Phoenix. In the western part of the city, at the site of the future Plateia Dimokratias station, archaeologists have revealed an arched, rectangular late antique church flanked by scattered graves. Burial practice suggests that the cemetery was in use until the 15th-century Ottoman sack of the city; following that conquest, these suburbs developed into commercial neighborhoods.

Meeting modern commuter needs while tending to historical finds

Thessaloniki’s difficulties are similar to  those that confronted Athens during the construction of its metro system: meeting modern commuter needs while responsibly tending to historical finds. Engineers in Athens anticipated the discovery of entire ancient neighborhoods; they were equipped to excavate them efficiently and to incorporate ruins into their respective station designs. But much of what’s been unearthed in Thessaloniki has come as a surprise to engineer and archaeologist alike. The discoveries speak to the city’s emergence in late antiquity as a cultural hub and – like Constantinople – a strategic bloodline between the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire.

The president of Athens Attiko Metro Yannis Mylopoulos estimated that the first metro line in Thessaloniki will be operational by 2020 and that the whole project will be finished by 2026.He was confident that these deadlines can be met, provided that the main lines are included in the “Juncker” investment package. This, he explained, is necessary in order to ensure that the necessary funding to complete the project will be secured. Moreover, the Attiko Metro chief also stressed that the Thessaloniki project was temporarily halted due to ‘problems of the past’ being resolved and thanked the District governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas for his support. On his part, Tzitzikostas commented that all entities need to meet their commitments and stressed the importance of constant financing.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

 

Tornos
  1. 15/12 02:44

    The eternal glow of the Land of Olympia in Western Greece

  2. 15/12 02:33

    Greek PM calls for meeting with Juncker and Merkel on EU-Turkish relations

  3. 15/12 02:27

    Report: What did Greeks google the most during 2017

  4. 15/12 02:21

    Cyprus, Greece and Armenia in joint activities to promote issues related to the diaspora

  5. 15/12 02:17

    Legal saga for six ex-members of Greek privatization agency drags on

  6. 15/12 02:05

    Portable hotels: Latest trend in luxury travel eyes major expansion by new investment

  7. 14/12 19:25

    Chinese Cosco interested in second Thriasio Plain logistics tender

  8. 14/12 19:20

    Report: Snow batters Europe while the Sun shines in Greece

  9. 14/12 19:15

    Anarchist Rouvikonas group attacks Saudi Arabia Embassy in Athens (video)

  10. 14/12 19:11

    Greek-American actor John Stamos expecting child with fiancée at 54

  11. 14/12 19:07

    Prime Minister: Greece will not accept any changes to EU refugee deal

  12. 14/12 18:52

    United States accuses Turkey of supporting extremist groups around the globe

  13. 14/12 18:45

    Archaeologists unearth Greek Goddess Artemis’ Statue in Luxor

  14. 14/12 18:10

    Simon Fraser University's new program on ‘Rebooting the Greek Language’

  15. 14/12 18:02

    Greek President Pavlopoulos attends anniversary of Laskaridis Foundation

  16. 14/12 17:54

    National Bank: Tourism drives Greece’s recovery

  17. 14/12 17:41

    Greek banks eye €9.5 billion in capital after IFRS 9 and stress tests

  18. 14/12 17:34

    Labour minister declares December 26 as obligatory holiday in Greece

  19. 14/12 17:26

    Official dinner and Leadership Award held at Capital Link Forum on Greece

  20. 14/12 17:19

    Bank of Greece circulates first collectible coin with color

  21. 14/12 17:09

    EU Vice President calls for European solution to migration crisis

  22. 14/12 17:01

    EU court rejects Greek motion to annul EC decision on state aid to Piraeus

  23. 14/12 16:48

    Modern French Baraka circus in Elefsina, Cultural Capital of Europe 2021

  24. 14/12 15:43

    Turkish President accuses Donald Trump of having “zionist” mentality

  25. 14/12 11:33

    Magical trip to mountainous Nafpaktia region in central Greece

  26. 14/12 10:02

    Massive general strike shuts down Athens, transport and government

  27. 14/12 01:01

    German Tourism: Egypt and Greece are top winners of 2017 travel market

  28. 14/12 00:01

    UN Envoy Nimetz still considers FYROM name dispute solvable

  29. 13/12 23:55

    Government-appointed Experts Committee urges immediate start of Helleniko project

  30. 13/12 23:48

    The top-10 Ancient Greek inventions and discoveries still in use today

  31. 13/12 23:43

    EU Commissioner slams Council President over refugee quotas

  32. 13/12 23:38

    Latest poll: Greek opposition on the verge of absolute majority

  33. 13/12 23:32

    Greek court backs Russian bitcoin fraud suspect’s extradition to U.S.

  34. 13/12 23:20

    “Greek Day” at NYSE with Finance Minister ringing the closing bell

  35. 13/12 23:15

    US Congresswoman urges FM to reject Erdogan’s remarks on Greek borders

  36. 13/12 23:00

    Mom and daughter find clay lamp from Hellenistic Period in Israel

  37. 13/12 22:05

    Lampsa adds third Athens' Syntagma hotel to its group

  38. 13/12 21:58

    Greek resort won top European Award at Swiss event

  39. 13/12 21:51

    Report: Europe’s top city destination is located in Greece

  40. 13/12 21:45

    Greek city of Thessaloniki to build Jewish school and new Holocaust Museum

  41. 13/12 20:47

    IMF's Lagarde reiterates that restructuring Greece’s debt is essential

  42. 13/12 20:40

    Deutsche Bank forecast: Greece will make it out of the crisis

  43. 13/12 20:32

    Report: Which are the three investments that could change Greece’s fate

  44. 13/12 20:23

    Parameters of Greek bank stress tests to be announced in early January

  45. 13/12 20:13

    Counter-flooding project at Greek-Bulgarian river borders to kick off

  46. 13/12 20:01

    When will Greece's Panathinaikos team be kicked out of European football

  47. 13/12 19:52

    Greek shops required to charge for plastic bags after January 1st 2018

  48. 13/12 19:09

    14 Turkish Air Force jets violate Greek air space over the Aegean Sea

  49. 13/12 17:42

    Greek government to unveil e-auction platform replacing courtroom process

  50. 13/12 15:32

    Which EU Chief wants all refugees to remain in Greece and Italy

  51. 13/12 13:24

    Ergani: 128,230 new jobs in Greece during first 11 months of 2017

  52. 13/12 11:15

    The Greek-American who played key role in capture of bomber in NYC

  53. 12/12 23:41

    UK historian Mary Beard connects Greek myths and Twitter trolls

  54. 12/12 23:34

    Eirini from Crete sings US anthem in Gianni's game at Boston Garden (video)

  55. 12/12 23:29

    Greek FinMin rejects concerns about Ethniki Insurance and its investors

  56. 12/12 23:25

    Tito’s granddaughter questions viability of ‘Macedonia’ as talks with Greece restart

  57. 12/12 23:24

    TrainOSE trains to stop running in observation of 24hr strike on Thursday

  58. 12/12 23:14

    Athens metro, tram and train to operate only from 09.00-21.00 on Thursday

  59. 12/12 23:10

    Giannis to take part in GNTO campaign to attract US tourists

  60. 12/12 23:06

    Fraport Greece: Kavala airport project to be completed by 2019

  61. 12/12 23:02

    Third rail provider license to be approved in Greece

  62. 12/12 22:55

    Visit Greece for dreamlike winter walks as well

  63. 12/12 22:50

    Union work stoppage to alter Olympic Air flights on Thursday

  64. 12/12 22:44

    'Georgios Averoff' sets sail from Thessaloniki returning to Piraeus port (video)

  65. 12/12 22:38

    Stricter laws and crackdown on foreign-flagged pro vessels in Greek waters

  66. 12/12 22:30

    Athens Christmas Factory 2017 to stay open until 7 January 2018 in Technopolis, Gazi

  67. 12/12 22:25

    Tourism Minister calls on foreigners to invest in Greece

  68. 12/12 22:01

    Draft bill to allow marinas' management transfer to local bodies in Greece

  69. 12/12 20:16

    Lithuanian-based technology firm BitREC expanding to Greek market

  70. 12/12 20:12

    Mitsotakis: Climate change the greatest long-term threat to Greece

  71. 12/12 20:06

    Main opposition ND: We expect the Greek government to implement privatizations

  72. 12/12 20:02

    Erdogan interview: Turkish-Cypriots “joint owners” not minority

  73. 12/12 19:22

    4.1% decrease in building activity across Greece in September

  74. 12/12 18:45

    Eurostat: Greece has the highest tax rises in the European Union

  75. 12/12 15:10

    Israeli PM slams Turkish President over Jerusalem issue

  76. 12/12 13:57

    Authorities: Sixth bear killed in road accident in northern Greece

  77. 12/12 11:21

    PM: Greek state saved €764 million by renegotiating four highway projects

  78. 11/12 23:05

    Global Blue Hellas: Tax Free transactions soar in 12-month period

  79. 11/12 21:16

    Tourism: Athens in top-10 destinations for Scandinavians for Q1 2018

  80. 11/12 21:03

    Acclaimed King's College Choir to make a first appearance in Athens

  81. 11/12 20:56

    No trolleys in Athens on Thursday from 9am to 9pm due to work stoppage

  82. 11/12 20:48

    Greek banks team up to offer settlements to 170,000 debtors

  83. 11/12 20:43

    Prime Minister: We invite American investments to Greece

  84. 11/12 20:41

    FYROM and Greece back to the name game bargaining table

  85. 11/12 20:38

    Moody's credit positive: Greek banks meet non-performing exposure targets

  86. 11/12 20:33

    Cyprus airports celebrate surpassing 10-million-passenger milestone

  87. 11/12 20:25

    New York City fashion event helps save lives of women in Greece

  88. 11/12 20:16

    Extended shop opening hours for Christmas in Greece

  89. 11/12 20:10

    Athens Airport tops 2016 passenger total by end of November 2017

  90. 11/12 20:05

    Passage through the scenic Corinth canal a part of Greek history

  91. 11/12 19:55

    The Archaeological Museum of Eleusis: A true hidden treasure

  92. 11/12 18:29

    The three best performing Greek islands in tourism for 2017

  93. 11/12 18:23

    4th Greek Tourism Expo: Medical tourism a 'golden opportunity' for Greece

  94. 11/12 17:46

    Energy minister: Government seeks fair price for sale of stake in DESFA

  95. 11/12 17:40

    Body of mountain climber recovered from steep cliff on Mount Olympus in Greece

  96. 11/12 17:29

    Report: New light cast on tanker sinking in Saronic Gulf

  97. 11/12 15:24

    Greek trade deficit up by 20.6% during October 2017

  98. 11/12 13:17

    Bild: Rise in migrants trying to enter EU from Greek airports with forged travel docs

  99. 11/12 11:08

    1.13 million applications for 'social dividend' approved so far in Greece

  100. 10/12 17:49

    Prime Minister: Greece supports Serbia’s European Union bid