On Friday 5/1/2024, at 13.00, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will inaugurate the recently restored palace of Aigai and will be guided by the Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni and the Honorary Curator of Antiquities Angeliki Kottaridis.

The palace, the “basilion” of Aigai, the royal metropolis of the Macedonians, is the focal point of the great building programme with which Philip II (359-336 BC) modernized and upgraded Aigai, the royal metropolis of the Macedonians, with an area of approx. It has an area of about 5.000 square meters. It is the largest building of classical Greece.

A simple and functional building, at the same time monumental and imposing, the archetypal edifice is characterized by the luxury of materials, the ingenuity and perfection of execution, the unexpected achievements of technology and, at the same time, by the geometric purity of form that forms a whole of unparalleled calm, elegance and harmony, where everything is subject to the charm of measure.

With the monumental propylon, which refers to a sanctuary, the impressive two-storey arcades of the façade that open to the city and invite citizens to make use of their space, the great peristyle, around which the banquet halls are organized, the dome that according to the inscriptions was the sanctuary of Patroos Hercules, the library/archive and the smaller western peristyle that served auxiliary uses (palace, etc. ) the “basileion” cathode of Aigai housed all those structures that were necessary for the exercise of multi-level public power.

With 16 Doric columns on each side, the great peristyle of the Aigai, which illustrates the concept of the square, is the first of its kind. With an area of 4,000 square metres, it could accommodate at least 8,000 people and could serve as a meeting place for the Macedonians. The place of assembly of the citizens takes on the image of a courtyard and the word ‘court’ becomes synonymous with the concept of kingship.

The architect merged traditional elements and radical inventions in a highly inventive manner.The building began construction in the mid-4th century and was completed in 336 BC, when Philip II, at the height of his celebration of his omnipotence, was assassinated as he entered the neighbouring theatre. In the great peristyle of the palace Alexander III was proclaimed king of the Macedonians and began the march that would change the world.

The palace is destroyed in an exemplary manner in the middle of the 2nd century BC, after the final destruction of the kingdom by the Romans of Metellus in 148 BC.

What remained of the plunder, which continued for centuries, was revealed by the excavation that began in 1865 and continued through the 20th century, the 1930s and the 1950s-1960s.

The work of maintenance, fixing, restoration and renovation of the monument was carried out by the competent Ephorate of Antiquities of Imathia with self-investment. It lasted from 2007 to 2023 as a co-financed project of successive European programmes, with a total budget of 20.300.000 euros.

The project was extended to the entire area of the monument (15.000 sq.m.) and its surrounding area to a total area of approx. 25.000 sq.m.

There was a re-discovery of the remains, excavation and stratigraphic documentation, conservation and systematic recording of all movable finds and stone architectural elements (many tens of thousands), documentation and fixing of the surviving elements in their place, conservation and aesthetic restoration of the mosaics and marble flooring (approx. 1,400 m²), fixing, completing and restoring foundations and supports, restoration of columns in situ and restoration of part of the upper floor of the façade in the atrium of the museum, as well as the major work of shoring up the slope on which the monument stands.

The scientific and administrative manager of the project in all phases was Dr. Angeliki Kottaridi, archaeologist and the supervisors of the final phase were: Olympia Felekidou, civil engineer-restorer, Kiki Kirittopoulou, architect, Eva Kontogoulidou, archaeologist, Kostas Tzimboulas, antiquities conservator, Giorgos Konstantinopoulos, craftsman.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!