"VERGINA" THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF MACEDONIA
Vergina, identified as Aegae - the first capital of the Macedonians - with its numerous archaeological finds of exquisite art, the royal tombs, the grave steles, the majestic palace, the theater, the houses and the city walls, gives
a complete picture of the high standard of civilization typical of a Macedonian city. Only in Vergina does the art of the 4th century B. C. unfold in all its splendid manifestations: architecture, sculpture, painting, metalwork and jewelry. This is due to the fact that , as the ancient capital of Macedonia, Vergina possessed numerous workshops where able and experienced craftsmen created works of art that vied in quality with those of Attica. The majority of these finds are now on display in the Thessaloniki museum.
The sensations experienced by the visitor to Vergina are unique. Here history is no longer a dull science, but it comes to life right in front of one's eyes. The unplundered tomb of Philip II King of the Macedonians, dating from
335 B. C., gave us the golden larnax with the star symbol of the Macedonian kings, known from Macedonian shields and coins, decorating its cover: sixteen rays of different length around a central rosette. Inside the larnax
were found the bones of the dead king covered with a golden wreath of oak leaves. The other finds in the chamber, such as the iron breastplate, the ceremonial shield, the iron Macedonian helmet, the royal diadem, the
graves and the weapons fully bring back to life the portrait of Philip II, the great general who succeeded in distinguishing Macedonia as the greatest power in Europe and who was assassinated at the age of 47 in the
theater nearby. In this same theater his son, Alexander the Great, was proclaimed king and launched his campaign to the East. which was to change the course of history.
Besides the finds mentioned above, the royal tombs at Vergina also preserve the most important examples of large-scale classical painting, as well as many carved and painted steles of ordinary citizens, whose mere names
prove the Greek identity of the Macedonians.
PELLA THE CAPITAL OF MACEDONIA
250 YEARS OF PROSPERITY
Transferring the capital of the kingdom from Aegae to Pella in around 400 B. C., King Archelaus made it the greatest of all Macedonian cities. Grandiosity characterized the whole structure of the city. The palace complex alone, situated on the hill dominating the city, occupied 60.000 sq. meters.
For 250 years Pella was the cultural center of the Greek world and a pole of attraction for famous artists of the age (Zeuxis. Apelles, Lysippos, Leocharis), It experienced its greatest prosperity during the reign of Alexander the Great, when it came to be called "Metropolis of the Macedonians - Homeland of Philip and Alexander". Thanks
to archaeological excavations, luxurious private houses with the famous mosaic floors were uncovered. as well as sanctuaries. an agora covering an area of 70.000 sq. m., cemeteries and finds which visitors may now view in the local museum.
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