A vision of decades, the new, polymorphic, central building of the polycentric Museum of Aigai, was inaugurated this morning by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in the presence of the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni.
The museum is a new, holistic and dynamic approach to the archaeological site – museum – visitor relationship. It integrates and unites the new main building with the entire archaeological site of Aigai (Vergina), which includes the Palace of Philip, the burial cluster of the Temenids, as well as the Museum of the Royal Tombs. The central museum building was designed to become the sign gate of entry to the archaeological site and the history of Aigai, the history and culture of the Macedonians, but also to the Hellenistic world, since here will be hosted the physical headquarters of the Digital Museum “Alexander The Great, from Aigai to the world”.
As Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed, ” the archaeological site of Vergina and Aigai with its global radiation is only the beginning of a cultural legacy of tens of centuries. And this multicentric promotion through the operation of the new museum aspires alongside the ancient Kleos to present its fruitful journey through the years. Because yesterday must always last in today and participate in the construction of tomorrow of every society.
This is an effort that transcends not only the boundaries of Imathia, but also the whole of Greece. I dare say that this is an important contribution to the development of the world’s cultural heritage.
This museum embodies a new dynamic approach to its relationship with the archaeological site, as it unites the entire building complex that comes from the deep historical past. The Palace of Philip, the burial cluster of the Temenids, but of course the royal tombs. In other words, it follows the residential model of the ancient city itself, an open city, with successive settlements around a central core”.
The prime minister referred to a statement by Konstantinos Karamanlis during his visit to the same site in 1978, accompanied by Manolis Andronikos. “The tombs of Vergina and the exhibition of Macedonian treasures cause admiration because they have artistic, historical and – note-above all national importance. All Greeks should visit them to get to know our history. They will feel proud and will see the unity of Greek culture”, Konstantinos Karamanlis had said at the time. I believe that both Konstantinos Karamanlis and Manolis Andronikos would be very proud today,” the prime minister said.
In her speech, the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni noted:
“Since the time of Andronikos, the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Service, as well as the University scientific community, have been working systematically and continuously for the disclosure, study, preservation and promotion of the enormous monumental importance and value of movable and immovable finds of Aigai, as well as the wider area of Imathia, which includes Veria, the seat of the Macedonian public, Mieza with the School of Aristotle, and about two hundred more standing monuments and archaeological sites.
In recent years and with the assurance of adequate funding from European and national resources, from the two consecutive programming periods of the NSRF 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, from the National part of the Public Investment Program and very recently from the Recovery Fund, a significant number of cultural projects in Central Macedonia and Imathia have been completed or have been launched. Today, in Central Macedonia, 59 projects are being completed or are being completed by the Ministry of Culture with a total budget of 53.000.000 euros mainly from the Regional Operational Program. I would like from my heart to thank the regional governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas for the understanding and excellent cooperation over the years.
At the same time, Mr. President, we have started 17 projects, with a total budget of 16.000.000 from the Recovery Fund.
Especially, in Imathia, the services of the Ministry of Culture carry out projects, with a total budget of more than 20.000.000 euros, which include the creation of new or modernization of older museums and cultural buildings, the overall upgrade of infrastructure and services provided to visitors, as well as projects promoting the excavation scientific research itself, the study and documentation of the finds, as well as their utilization for museological, pedagogical and other purposes with traditional and digital means.
In the case of Aigai, the design of the projects was from the beginning aimed at the systematic and Universal restoration and promotion of the particularly extensive archaeological site, in order to develop into a huge archaeological park with modern and high level infrastructure and services, which will offer visitors complete, unified and comprehensive knowledge and experience of the history of the city of Aigai, its kings and the wider Macedonia.
The main phase of renovation and promotion of the area of the Palace and the Necropolis, of an area of almost 550 acres, has already been completed, which in the summer of 2021 we gave to the public as a visited tree-planted site of archaeological and naturalistic tour. With the works of fastening, maintenance and restoration of the Palace, as well as the project of creating the Digital Museum “Alexander The Great, from Aigai to the world” also gradually moving towards completion, at the end of 2023, today another large and emblematic project is inaugurated: the New Museum as part of the polycentric Museum of Aigai”.
The polycentric Museum of Aigai currently consists of the following sections:
- The main museum building: the project was joined in 2010and the construction of the Shell was completed in 2016. Between the years 2014-2016, the restoration/restoration of the upper floor of the Propylon and part of the side galleries of the palace presented in the large atrium of the museum was completed.
- The Museum of the royal tombs with the Tomb of Philip II.
- The Archaeological Park of the necropolis with the Royal Burial cluster of the Temenids.
- The palace and the theatre.
- The recorded Church of Agios Dimitrios located at the eastern end of the archaeological site.
To this total can be added successively any monuments, clusters of monuments or parts of the archaeological site are maintained, organized and can receive visitors.
The project, with a total budget of 18.154.190 Euros, was implemented in two phases and was funded by the PEP of Central Macedonia – NSRF 2007-2013 and NSRF 2014-2020. The first phase involved the construction of the building, the landscaping of the surrounding area, the restoration of the part of the palace located in the large atrium, the preparation of studies, the preservation of the findings. The second phase involved the creation of the exhibitions, the completion of the plantings of the surrounding area and the equipment of the museum.
The main building of the Museum, in addition to the introductory exhibit “window to the world of Alexander the great” hosts five exhibitions:
- The exhibition of architectural members with the central exhibit of the restored part of the Palace: in the large atrium of the museum, in a protected area, a 30-meter-long section of the upper floor of the central part of the facade of the Aigai Palace has been erected.
- The sculpture exhibition, which concerns findings from the many years of excavations in the wider archaeological site of Aigai.
- The central exhibition “memory of Aigai”, in which findings from the excavations of Aigai are exhibited: findings that reveal the identity of the city, traces of worship rituals, the foundation of the Palace are presented.
- The periodical exhibition ” Oikoumeni Antidoron “which is held in collaboration with the Numismatic Museum and the Collector Theodoros Aravanis: the periodical exhibition” Oikoumeni Antidoron ” tries to approach the phenomenon of the Hellenistic Oikoumeni, the expansion of Greek civilization to the Far East, through the figures of the protagonists of the developments, as depicted on the coins, the official symbols of their power and authority.
- The art exhibition “Material Memory” with works by the painter Christos Bokoros created especially for the presentation at the Museum of Aigai.
The above works were carried out by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Imathia with the support of the competent Directorates of the Ministry of Culture, with funding from the pep-NSRF 2014-2020 and from the budget of the Ministry of culture.
The event was also addressed by the regional governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas and the director of the Museum and curator of Antiquities of Imathia, Angeliki Kottaridi.
The Deputy Minister of Finance and MP of Imathia Apostolos Vesyropoulos, the Deputy Minister of Macedonia-Thrace and MP of Thessaloniki Stavros Kalafatis, the MPs of Imathia Anastasios Bartzokas and Lazaros Tsavdaridis, the MP of Pella Dionysis Stamenitis, the MP of Thessaloniki Kostas Gulekas, the Secretary General of Culture George Didaskalou and the director of the Prime Minister’s office in Thessaloniki, Maria Antoniou.