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The Palace of Alexander the Great is Reopened in Greece

The reconstructed palace of Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II, in Aigai, Macedonia, was inaugurated on Friday by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Alexander the Great ascended to the throne 2,300 years ago in this very palace.

According to Mitsotakis, “The palace has a cultural and national character because it confirms Macedonia’s Greek timelessness throughout the centuries.”

“Our bet is to be able to make Aigai a point of reference, a landmark of our ancestors’.” He continued, “greatness, but also a part of our modern life. This wonderful archaeological park can and should become a catalyst of economic development for Vergina, Imathia, and all the region of Macedonia.”

Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II (359–336 BC), had a vast building program for his capital city of Aigai, with the palace serving as its focal point.

With a total area of around 15,000 square meters, it is regarded as the biggest structure from classical Greece. The structure is elegant, well-built, and features luxurious materials and creative construction. Its straightforward form belies its high level of functionality.

Among its many features are the tholos devoted to Hercules, the grand colonnade (peristyle) that served as a venue for symposia, the impressive two-story stoas on the facade that offered a view of the city and could be used by the public, and a monumental entranceway (propylon) that resembles a sanctuary.

All the departments required for the use of public authority were headquartered in the palace building. It is a square, a singular construction, and is encircled by sixteen Doric columns on each side known as the great peristyle of Aigai. It can accommodate at least 8,000 people and has a surface size of 4,000 square meters.

Renovation of the Philip II Palace in Aigai

Beginning around the middle of the 4th century BC, construction was finished by 336 BC, the year Philip II was slain upon entering the adjacent theater. His son Alexander III was crowned king of Macedonians during the great peristylion, beginning a course that would alter the course of history.

After the Romans broke up the kingdom in 148 BC, the palace was destroyed around the course of the second century BC. Its construction elements were pillaged over the ages until excavations started in 1865 and carried out sporadically until the 1950s found it again.

The Ephorate of Antiquities of Imathia started reconstruction in 2007 and it was completed in 2023. At a total cost of 20.3 million euros, it was financed by many financing programs of the European Union. The monument’s rehabilitation, restoration, and structural support were all included in the works.

The 15,000 square meters that encircle the complex and the almost 25,000 square meters that lie beyond were added to the restoration project. On the entire site, tens of thousands of stone architectural components and thousands of portable discoveries were registered and excavated. A portion of the museum’s atrium ceiling was also restored. Included were earth support works as well.

Throughout the entire project, Dr. Angeliki Kottaridi served as the administrative and scientific supervisor, working with a team that included civil engineers, architects, archaeologists, conservators, and craftspeople. From 70 to 160 workers labored on the site in different shifts.

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