Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and is the capital of the region of Macedonia. The city is over 2,300 years old and has a rich Roman and Byzantine history, examples of which are scattered about the city.
The White Tower is an Ottoman era monument and has become a symbol of the city. It was constructed in the 15th century on the site of an older Byzantine tower, located where the eastern city wall met the sea wall. The tower is 33.9 metres high. It got its current name in 1890 when a convict whitewashed it in exchange for his freedom.
GALERIUS PALACE COMPLEX
There are several monuments or buildings that fall within the overall palace complex of the Roman Emperor Galerius Maximianus. These include the Rotunda, Galerius’ Triumphal Arch and the Palace building itself. The artist impression below shows how the complex was linked together. In the top left is the Hippodrome where chariot races, etc took place. To the right of the Hippodrome is Galerius’ palace (basilica). In centre-right is Galerius’ Triumphal Arch and in the bottom right quadrant is the Rotunda.
The Rotunda was built by Galerius Caesar around 306AD, either as a temple to Zeus or Kabeiroi, or as a mausoleum for Galerius. In the 5th century, the Rotunda was converted to a Christian church. In the 1500’s it was converted to a mosque, and the tower minaret from that period still stands.
Galerius Triumphal Arch
A sizeable section of the arch remains. In its day it must have been an impressive sight. It was constructed in 305AD to commemorate Galerius’ military successes in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.
Built by Emperor Galerius Caesar in the early 4th century, it was his residence during visits to Thessaloniki. Records show that the palace was used by subsequent Roman emperors during the 4th and 5th centuries, including Theodosius I. The palace includes reception halls (Basilica and Octagon), a courtyard, baths and cistern.
Tomorrow I’ll be back on the road, heading for a campsite near to Meteora where I expect some great scenery.