Rotonda of Thessaloniki


Rotonda in Thessaloniki is probably the oldest standing building in the Balkans.


Rotonda of Thessaloniki

The Rotonda is possibly the oldest standing building in the Balkans. Built during the reign of the Emperor Dioclitian, specifically by his "deputy Emperor" Galerius.

Dioclitian realised that the threats to the Empire were so many, but that it was not possible for him to be at all the trouble spots at the same time, so he created four Emperors. Galerius was one of Dioclitian's general and he was appointed to be the 'Eastern Emperor'. Galerius chose Thessaloniki to be his capital.

It is not clear what the Rotonda was meant to be. One theory is that it may have been Galerius' throne room. Another theory is that it amy have been a temple to the God Jupitar. Anther more likely theory is that it was meant to be a mausolium for Galerius. He died in 311 A.D. before it was completed and was probably not put to any specific use. 

When Christianity became the official religeon of the Roman Empire, the Rotonda was turned into a Christian Church. The surviving mosaics the decorate the interior of the dome are magnificent. Unfortunately due to earthquakes only about 10% of the mosaics are left. These mosaics date back to the reign of Justinian the Great.

During Ottoman times, the Rotonda was used as a mosque from about 1590. 

Today the Rotonda is considered one of the most important Byzantine monuments and is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.


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    Address Armenopoulou Street, Thessaloniki.


    How to reach Take the main Egnatia main thoroughfare, at Gounari street, walk up and passed the Arch of Garlerius. Keep walking and you reach the Rotonda

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