"Aghios Dimitrios Church" Agios Dimitrios Church Tip by dimilag
Agios Dimitrios Church, Thessaloniki: 17 reviews and 39 photos
To the north of the Roman Agora is the principal church in Salonica, Aghios Dimitrios (St Demetrius). This five-aisled basilica was built over a Roman bath-house (remains of which can be seen on the north side of the church) and a Roman road (seen from the crypt, which contains a small lapidarium). Until the ninth century it was known as the "church by the Stadion". Investigations after 1917 confirmed the tradition that the Emperor Galerius caused a Roman officer named Demetrius to be imprisoned and executed here in the year 306. Thereafter Demetrius became the town's principal saint and patron, and pilgrims came from all over the Byzantine Empire to visit his tomb.
The church was originally built in the fifth century, and its main features were preserved in a seventh century rebuilding made necessary by a fire and in the reconstruction of the church after its destruction in the great fire of 1917. During the Turkish occupation it was converted into a mosque, the Kasimiye Cami.
Notable features of the interior of the church, the largest in Greece (43m/141ft long), are the finely carved capitals of the antique columns in varicolored marble, the huge wheel chandelier in the central aisle, the small mosaics on pillars in the apse and the large marble tomb of Loukas Spantounis (d. 1481) on the north wall of the narthex.
In 1980 the relics of St Demetrius were brought back to Salonica from the Italian town of San Lorenzo in Campo. They are now preserved in a sarcophagus in front of the iconostasis.
Address: 83, Aghiou Dimitriou str.
Directions: 600m N of Aristotelous square
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