Crypt of Hagios Demetrios, Thessaloniki

Categories: Landmarks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.8/5 based on 140+ 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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  • where the Saint was martyred worth a visit where once there were baths and Roman officer Demetrius martyred for his Christian faith.
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  • Before visiting it would be recommended to read the life of Saint Demetrius (Tropeoforos) and the history of the church. First time I visited it I was together with an elder priest which knew and expl...  read more »
  • There are no words, unless you choose you can't feel what I'll describe someone because it will simply be a description.
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  • 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.
  • This impressive, Orthodox Christian church is dedicated to St. Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki.
  • Beautiful old church
  • Must Visit for Orthodox or no. Special Architecture . Typical example of Byzantium era. Visit also the catacombs
  • A must see in Thessaloniki. The church is located at the site of St. Demetrios' martyrdom and contains his relics. The basilica is also one of the largest in Greece.
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