Polyxeni Adam-Veleni, “Thessaloniki: A Metro-Polis through the Centuries”
Throughout the course of excavations during the construction of the Metropolitan Railway in modern Thessaloniki, important finds were brought to light at seven stations: an unknown Roman cemetery of a wealthy settlement, and many burials and funerary structures in the eastern and western necropoleis of the ancient city. The excavations of two central stations at the heart of the ancient and the modern city revealed important new archaeological evidence about the city’s plan and its population: the central marble-paved avenue (the Roman decumanus maximus) and perpendicular streets (the cardines), two large oval plazas, many shops, luxurious urban residences and public buildings. Viewed together, these exciting discoveries paint a magnificent picture of the ancient city and give new information about its urban planning, demonstrating that both in late antiquity, but especially during the acme of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki was not only a second capital to Constantinople, but was also one of Europe’s most important and populated cities.
Dr. Polyxeni Adam-Veleni is Director General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Hellenic Ministry of Culture