Crypt of Agios Demetrios, Thessaloniki
(4.8/5 based on 150+ reviews on the web)
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, dating from a time when it was the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.HistoryThe first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Iconoclastic policies in 730. These mosaics, depicting St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration (called the founders) and with children, represent rare examples of art surviving from the Dark Age that followed Justinian's death. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Saloniki from a pagan Slavic raid in 612.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • במונחים מתקופת ימי הביניים קריפטה,ביוונית, "חבוי"היא חדר אבן או חלל כלשהו הבנוי בדרך כלל מתחת לרצפה של כנסייה או טירה, ובדרך כלל היא משמשת כאתר קבורה המכיל סרקופג, ארון מתים או שרידים קדושים של אישים ...  more »
  • An impressive place full of history! You will find lots of information in different places! Awe inspiring fact that saved this part after the fire that burned the temple!
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  • I admit that it is from the most touching part of the city since the Church is dedicated to the patron of the city. Worth the walk if someone thought that dates far back historically. Even from other religion people deserve to see something different and that is the religious history of the city.
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Google
  • Interesting, but - as so often in Thessaloniki - heavily restored... Whilst I am aware of the importance of the importance of the local saints, for me the real find was the crypt...
  • Go there and take the blessings of agios Dimitrios, the great Saint from Thessaloniki !!!
  • This impressive, Orthodox Christian church is dedicated to St. Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki.
  • Even if you're not the religious type, this is a very interesting place both for its architecture and its history. Be sure to check out the visiting hours and prepare to spend some time inside. It's worth it.
  • Nice holy place, free admission, the underground crypt was closed though