P. Merakos

Archaeological Site of Philippi

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.

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 AD, 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 Ottoman evasion.

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 Philip II); the agora, part of a complex of public buildings built by Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) 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.