Basilica of Aghios Dimitrios

Situated on the Aghiou Dimitriou Street, north of the ancient Agora and the Byzantine Megalophoros, built on the ruins of a Roman bath complex, this was where Demetrius, an officer in the Roman Army, was imprisoned and martyred in 303. A small private chapel was first built there. In the mid-5th century, Leontius, prefect of Illyricum, erect a large basilica at the same location, which burned down during the earthquake of 620. With the contribution of Prefect Leontius and the Bishop of Thessaloniki, the basilica was restored to its original form of a five-aisled wooden-roofed basilica with a transept and gallery. The present-day restored form of the church – which was destroyed almost completely in the fire of 1917 – is the result of extensive restoration works that began in 1918 and ended in 1948.
The tomb of the saint is located in the NW corner, where it was believed to have stood in the Early-Christian era. The church, dedicated to the patron saint of Thessaloniki, is a pilgrim church and is primarily renowned for its mosaics that survived the great fire of 1917. Eleven votive mosaics of the 5th, 7th and 9th century are preserved at the two pillars of the sanctuary and at the western wall of the central aisle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *