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Greek Antiquities Return to Thessaloniki Metro

antiquities Thessaloniki
Antiquities discovered around the construction site of the new Thessaloniki Metro will be displayed at the station. Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

On Thursday, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that antiquities which were previously relocated during excavations of the Thessaloniki Metro will be displayed at the new Venizelos Station.

The antiquities were discovered during the second round of excavations inside the shell of the Venizelos Station in Thessaloniki. The ancient objects date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD.

Experts will start to place the items on display in April this year, with all due attention focused on their continued preservation. However, the station itself is not expected to open until the end of next year.

The antiquities at Thessaloniki Metro

Lina Mendoni, the Minister of Culture and Sports, spoke at length about the future of the valuable ancient items.

“When in 2020 we started the temporary deployment of the antiquities at the Venizelos Station, we had committed that within specific timeframes the deployed antiquities would return to their exact location, based on the principles of science and ethics, constituting a unique monumental ensemble within the Station shell,” she said.

“Two years later, and earlier than originally planned, we are proving consistent. With absolute respect for the institutional framework and the Law for the Protection of Antiquities, but also for the needs of Thessaloniki and its inhabitants, we are completing an extremely complex archaeological project in the urban fabric of Thessaloniki, the like of which has not been realized until today,” Mendoni continued.

“Complete studies were prepared for all the necessary and legally prescribed stages, for the entire process of the removal and relocation of the antiquities under the continuous and uninterrupted supervision of the Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Thessaloniki and with the close cooperation of the relevant Departments of the Ministry of Antiquities.”

Mendoni also discussed how the integration of the historical items into the new station would create a flattering and respectful intersection between the past, present, and future of the city, which was founded around 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon.

“Thessaloniki, at the end of 2023, will be the first, as it will have an extensive archaeological site integrated into the station shell. What we are doing shows our respect for the past, present and future of the city and its citizens,” concluded the minister.

antiquities Thessaloniki
Lina Mendoni and others observing the archaeological finds Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

The archaeological finds

The archaeological discoveries at Thessaloniki included both constructional finds and moveable antiquities.

A network of ancient infrastructure and several buildings were found at the site of excavation. Some of these were discovered under the old Roman east–west-oriented Decumanus road and under the present day Venizelou Street.

Most of the finds belonged to the late Roman and early Byzantine periods between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD. A large number of coins were discovered, together with many items of pottery, as well as glass, iron, bronze, marble, and bone finds.

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