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Philippi is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Archaeological Site of Philippi, the most important one in the Eastern Macedonian area of Greece, is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Monuments since mid-July 2016, satisfying all the institution’s significant and strict criteria. At the 40th Session of the Committee, which took place in Istanbul, from July 10th to 17th, Philippi was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Site.

© Achilleas Savopoulos

The ancient city of Philippi was built by Thassian settlers, called Crenides (Krinides) in 360-359 BC and led by the exiled Athenian politician Kallistratus. In 356 BC King Philip II of Macedonia renamed the city after himself and used it to control the neighbouring gold mines of Mt. Paggaio, where he installed the Royal Mint. Following the Roman battle of Philippi in 42 BC, in which Octavian and Mark Antony defeated Brutus and Cassius, the city held a leading role of the Roman Empire on Via Egnatia. When Apostle Paul visited in 49-50 BC, in his second and third missionary journeys, he founded the first European Christian Church and the settlement went on being the metropolis of Christianism. The prevalence of the new religion and the transfer of the Roman Empire’s capital to Constantinople lent glory to the City of Philippi. By the 7th century AD people left the city due to big earthquakes and the Slavic raids. During the Byzantine Period the town was a fortress. Its evacuation took place later on during the 14th century with the Turkish evasion.

© Hercules Milas

In the Archaeological Site of Philippi you should pay a visit to its fortified walls and the Acropolis, within which you will encounter a tower dating back to the Byzantine Period; its theatre built in the 4th century BC (probably by Philippe II); the agora, part of a complex of public buildings built by Marcus Aurelius (161-180 BC) was the administrative centre of the Roman Empire and includes a mesmerising 40 m2 mosaic floοr; a palaestra with a little amphitheatre, rooms and a colonnaded courtyard; a Roman Cistern where Romans imprisoned Apostle Paul; the Octagon, a large temple complex, dedicated to Apostle Paul and three aisled basilicas dating back to 5th - 6th century.

© Achilleas Savopoulos

It should be noted that Philippi is the 18th Greek monument which was included in UNESCO’s list. The other ones are: the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae in the Peloponnese (1986), the Acropolis archaeological site in Athens (1987), the Archaeological site of Delphi (1987), the Sanctuary of Asklepios in Epidaurus in the Peloponnese (1988), Mount Athos (1988), the Medieval city of Rhodes (1988), Meteora (1988), the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki (1988), the Archaeological site of Mystras in the Peloponnese (1989), the Archaeological site of Olympia in the Peloponnese (1989), the Archaeological site of Delos in the Cyclades Islands (1990), the Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios (1990), the Archaeological site of Heraion on Samos Island (1992), the Archaeological site of Aigai (Vergina) (1996), the Archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns (1999), the Historic centre (Chora), Monastery of Saint John Theologos and the cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos Island (1999) and the Old Town of Corfu (2007).

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