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. 25/06 01:55

    Concert by Greek singer George Dalaras on Wednesday in Tirana

  2. 24/06 23:41

    Brazilian soccer star Kaka on Greek island of Mykonos island with partner (video)

  3. 24/06 21:36

    TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards: Crete among “Golden Five”

  4. 24/06 19:40

    Greek Public Power corp launches campaign to collect €1.05 billion in arrears

  5. 24/06 13:28

    60 migrants awarded certificates by city of Athens for language and IT courses

  6. 24/06 11:01

    4th 'Beyond Borders' International Documentary Festival on Kastellorizo island

  7. 24/06 09:22

    Heavy rains and storms to hit Northern Greece

  8. 23/06 01:03

    Travel report: Why there is no experience like a Greek Summer

  9. 22/06 17:41

    New Archbishop of America Elpidophoros enthroned in New York ceremony

  10. 22/06 17:19

    Olympic brewery in 'Open Breweries 2019' initiative on Sunday

  11. 22/06 13:04

    20 parties and four coalitions to run in July 7 general elections in Greece

  12. 22/06 11:38

    US State Department urges Turkey to instantly reopen Theological School of Halki

  13. 22/06 02:14

    Autograph Collection Hotels debuts in Greece with Academia of Athens

  14. 22/06 01:44

    Business Tourism: Companies with a strong travel culture have a competitive advantage

  15. 22/06 00:54

    Hollywood star Nicolas Cage arrives in Cyprus for new film

  16. 22/06 00:33

    Enrique Iglesias brings his “All The Hits Live” tour to Greek city of Thessaloniki

  17. 21/06 19:30

    US ambassador underlines American companies' interest in privatisations

  18. 21/06 17:24

    Athens Acropolis Museum's walk-through excavation officially open to the public

  19. 21/06 15:55

    Byzantine pottery kilns unearthed during works in northern Greece

  20. 21/06 13:50

    Heatwave in Greece during the weekend

  21. 21/06 02:26

    Times travel report: Discover the serenity of the Greek island of Tinos

  22. 21/06 02:13

    Archaeologists discover that ancient Celts drank Greek wine out of vases

  23. 21/06 00:15

    Symposium on the Greeks to grace on popular island of Paros

  24. 20/06 23:46

    Greek olive oil from Olympia sweeps international awards

  25. 20/06 23:33

    National Herald announces 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America 2019 List

  26. 20/06 22:28

    New evidence debunks British Museum’s stance on Elgin Marbles

  27. 20/06 22:24

    Athens Acropolis Museum head hails institution's 10th birthday

  28. 20/06 21:55

    OECD study records that Greek SMEs have competitive handicap

  29. 20/06 21:43

    Airbnb survey on 2019 LGBTQ+ tourism trends

  30. 20/06 19:32

    Hilton report on iconic chain's 100th anniversary: Welcome to the Hotel of 2119

  31. 20/06 17:10

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers honors Antikythera Mechanism

  32. 20/06 15:01

    Top Model Alessandra Ambrosio enchanted by Santorini’s mesmerizing beauty

  33. 20/06 13:49

    Greek President calls for Elgin Marbles return at Acropolis Museum event

  34. 20/06 11:35

    Run along the Caldera at the 5th Santorini Experience from October 4-6

  35. 20/06 09:56

    Foreign scientists to attend conference on Greek contributions in Paros island

  36. 20/06 02:40

    Media: Has Lindsay Lohan abandoned her Mykonos Beach Club?

  37. 20/06 02:05

    Summer Solstice 2019: People celebrate the longest day of the year on June 21

  38. 20/06 01:42

    Travel report: Symi, a small wonderful Greek island with a rich history

  39. 20/06 01:26

    Greek opposition head: Kavala and Alexandroupolis port privatization must proceed

  40. 19/06 23:47

    Traffic restrictions in downtown Athens for SNF evening races on Sunday

  41. 19/06 23:26

    New fiscal warning from Bank of Greece governor Stournaras

  42. 19/06 23:24

    European Commission: Greece improving in terms of innovation

  43. 19/06 21:22

    Greece takes part in inaugural anti-Semitism meeting in Bucharest

  44. 19/06 17:56

    Skytrax awards: Aegean is Best Regional Airline in Europe for 9th year

  45. 19/06 15:50

    European Coffee Federation: High taxation boosts smuggling in Greece

  46. 19/06 13:37

    4th Aviation and Flight Academy at Athens International Airport

  47. 19/06 11:23

    Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center to launch lung transplant program in Athens

  48. 19/06 09:35

    Greek director Lanthimos adds personal touch to Gucci's cruise collection

  49. 19/06 02:48

    Survey: Passengers want governments to focus on sustainable fuels to cut carbon

  50. 19/06 02:29

    Tourist arrivals to Cyprus drop 3.5% during May 2019

  51. 19/06 01:19

    Plisskën Festival returns with another dynamic lineup in Athens

  52. 19/06 01:15

    41K Greek taxpayers and firms apply for 120 installments for social security arrears

  53. 18/06 02:42

    UNWTO Executive Council: Tourism, a global force for growth and development

  54. 18/06 02:41

    CheapOair: Athens in top-10 European destinations for summer 2019

  55. 18/06 02:36

    Greek banks reduce borrowing from ELA to €1 million in May 2019

  56. 18/06 02:02

    Greece in top-10 countries in electric power production from green energy

  57. 18/06 01:38

    Global conference on climate change impact on cultural heritage in Athens

  58. 18/06 01:33

    Canada’s HEXO acquires medical marijuana license in Greece

  59. 18/06 01:31

    Tottenham’s defender Kieran Trippier with wife Charlotte in Mykonos

  60. 18/06 01:27

    Primary surplus of €918 million for Greece in first five months of 2019

  61. 18/06 01:04

    Bloomberg report: Greece needs more butlers for affluent tourists

  62. 18/06 00:54

    Cyprus hoteliers witness 5-10% drop in bookings and turn to new markets

  63. 17/06 22:12

    US moves closer to re-joining UNWTO with high-level delegation in Baku

  64. 17/06 11:15

    New finds from underwater research on historic Greek island of Salamis

  65. 17/06 02:36

    UNWTO and Indonesia Tourism Ministry to promote culinary tourism jointly

  66. 17/06 01:04

    Cristiano Ronaldo meets local soccer star and model in Greek resort

  67. 16/06 19:35

    Crossing the Aegean Sea from Sounio to Santorini on kayaks

  68. 16/06 19:13

    Young refugee student in Leros island teaches Greek language to kids online

  69. 16/06 19:05

    Jethro Tull brings classic rock to the Athens Acropolis in Greece

  70. 15/06 20:15

    Protest at Greek Embassy in DC on alleged abuse of Santorini donkeys (videos)

  71. 15/06 15:16

    Travel Report: Chios, a wonderful and unspoiled Greek island

  72. 15/06 02:57

    Moody's downgrades Turkey's ratings to B1 and maintains negative outlook

  73. 14/06 22:09

    Greek chef enters Guinness World Record by cooking 3,378 burgers in an hour

  74. 14/06 21:49

    Tolls to rise on Athens highway of Attiki Odos on July 1 and January 1

  75. 14/06 20:19

    US Ambassador Pyatt leads Greek executives to USA investor summit

  76. 14/06 19:45

    World’s most popular musical ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Athens from February 2020

  77. 14/06 15:40

    Greek civil service staff changes and holidays suspended ahead of elections

  78. 14/06 15:29

    Wage index in retail commerce sector rises 8.3% in Greece during Q1

  79. 14/06 11:44

    Greek island of Lesvos goes retro for Gen Next Party in Australia

  80. 14/06 03:28

    New programme for sustainable investments in infrastructure in Greece

  81. 14/06 03:13

    Ambassador lauds Greek participation in 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit

  82. 14/06 02:52

    6th South European Union Summit begins in Malta today

  83. 14/06 02:50

    Barça Innovation Hub launches global sports tourism start-up competition

  84. 14/06 02:48

    First sanctuary for rescued dolphins opens on Greek island of Lipsi

  85. 14/06 01:44

    English rock band New Order to headline Day 4 at Release in Athens

  86. 14/06 01:20

    New railway line Thessaloniki-Kavala-Xanthi in northern Greece to cost €1.25 billion

  87. 14/06 01:02

    Greek bond market rally continues ahead of July 7 elections

  88. 14/06 01:01

    Bayern Munich star Alaba visits Mykonos with his personal Pastor

  89. 14/06 00:33

    Greek construction group completes major metro project in Qatar

  90. 13/06 23:04

    Hellenic Chamber of Hotels survey: Prices reduced by up to 13% this year

  91. 13/06 21:56

    Global Editors Network Summit 2019 opens at SNFCC in Athens

  92. 13/06 21:41

    Lesvos Food Festival to be held on July 2-7

  93. 13/06 21:35

    Greece climbs 14 spots on Global Peace Index for 2019

  94. 13/06 21:00

    Christiano Ronaldo on holiday at favorite Greek resort in the Peloponnese

  95. 13/06 19:49

    13th annual LA Greek Film Festival closing night and Orpheus Awards

  96. 13/06 19:25

    ERA becomes European authority for cross-border rail traffic in the continent

  97. 13/06 17:25

    Visitors and revenues to museums and sites rise in Greece during February

  98. 13/06 15:43

    Americans prefer European wines

  99. 13/06 13:33

    North Macedonia corrects provocative tourism promotion following uproar

  100. 13/06 11:52

    Revival of the Hippocratic Oath by Doctors of the East and West