Founded in 315 B.C., the provincial capital and sea port of Thessalonika was one of the first bases for the spread of Christianity. Among its Christian monuments are fine churches, some built on the Greek cross plan and others on the three-nave basilica plan. Constructed over a long period, from the 4th to the 15th century, they constitute a diachronic typological series, which had considerable influence in the Byzantine world. The mosaics of the rotunda, St Demetrius and St David are among the great masterpieces of early Christian art.
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
Imperial splendour and the changing fortunes of the Thessalonian church were inextricably linked during the early centuries of Christianity. It was during the period that the palatial complex of Galerius was being built (298-311) that St Demetrius was martyred (c. 303). Some time later the rotunda, which Galerius had probably planned as his mausoleum, was taken over by the Christians who converted it to a church dedicated to St George. North of the Forum, on the ruins of the thermae (baths) where tradition has it that St Demetrius was imprisoned and tortured, they built the Basilica of St Demetrius. Rebuilt in 412-13 by the eparch Leontius and enlarged in 629-34 according to a grandiose plan that included five naves, the church, despite having been ravaged by fire in 1917, remains one of the most notable monuments of the early Christian era.
Sender: Elena, Sent on: 19 Feb, 2014, Received on: 24 Feb, 2014, Travel time: 5 days