Crypt of Hagios 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
  • Under the Basilica Saint Dimitrios, former Roman baths became a huge crypt in great condition really need to visit to Thessaloniki.
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  • Whether anyone believes it or not, you must visit this catacomb to which come free inside the Temple of Agios Dimitrios. On the modern temple was built here and tortured Saint for his faith. Worth architectural and historical. If you believe deserves and religious as it is said that the point is miraculous.
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  • Right and left narrow, small, barely striking stairs are down on the altar area of the well-attended church. There are quite a few relics can be seen in the ancient catacombs. Also, there are also tours in which everything is explained! Bottom line: Worth a look!
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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