And then come the Romans

After the era of kings withered, the time of emperors shined in Thessaloniki, as the Romans captured Macedon and as a result Thessaloniki in 168 B.C. The city grew to become of importance to the Roman Empire because of its position, and it soon became a trade-hub city. It even became a capital for all greek provinces for some time in the 1st century. Important monuments were built during the times of the Romans. Two that are very popular meeting points for all Thessalonians today, are the Arc of Galerius and Rotunda. Galerius, a roman emperor, was of great significance to the city. So what was his association to Thessaloniki?




One of the first and most important challenges Galerius faced was the war with Persia that started in 294 A.D. with him as a commander when he was only 24 years old.

Scene from the Arc (source: wikipedia)

Despite some initial failures, he came out victorious in 298 A.D. The Arc was built in 298-99 A.D. by his command and in 303 A.D. was dedicated his victory and the capture of the Persian capital. Some of the scenes present in the Arc are actually of Galerius’ battles -real and imagined. The Rotunda was built on Galerius’ commands in 306 A.D and although throughout the history it was used differently, it was initially intended either as mausoleum or a temple for one of the gods.

These two might be the most well-known monuments that were built on his command but there are not the only ones. In fact there is the whole Galerian Complex for you to discover, as one of 

Navarinou Square (part of the Galerian Complex)

Galerius palaces – among others- was in Thessaloniki. Examples of what you can find there is the Apsidal whole and the Octagon. Even if some like the Hippodrome is just a street today, you will know that you are walking when ancient Romans and Greeks enjoyed their races. If you want to learn more about there is a site dedicated to the complex called Galerius Palace.



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