Agios Dimitrios: The patron saint of Thessaloniki
The most important old-Christian church of the city for religious, artistic and historical purposes.
Dedicated to the Holy City – Protector of the city, the church is identified with the history of Thessaloniki as it was shaped by the rich events that marked it. The temple has a museum and three chapels on one side.
It is an excellent example of church architecture and religious architecture of the late Early Byzantine period (7th century AD). The original rafts and the interior decoration of the temple lost their original form after a series of reconstructions, additions and disasters that have taken place over the centuries.
The original construction of the church of Saint Demetrius dates back to the 4th century AD. century, when a small Christian temple was built above the ruins of the ancient Roman baths in the same place. A little more than a century later, this initial construction was replaced by a Triple Temple, while the final and most significant configuration was made in 629 – 634 AD as a five – aisled Basilica with a transverse aisle.
During the Ottoman period the temple was converted into a mosque and a significant number of mosaics and frescoes were destroyed.
The different styles that characterize the church make Saint Demetrios truly unique in terms of religious art and art.
The extremely rare hexagonal sanctuary of the church (ciborium) exudes a special interest, while besides the rich painting and marble decoration, the most ancient ornaments of the 5th century are characterized by special value and beauty.
In the great fire of 1917 the building was completely destroyed following the fate of most of the city’s historic center. The restoration and restoration work that took place was extensive and lasted several years.
As a historic and worshipful place of great value, Agios Dimitrios attracts many visitors and experts of Religious Art from all over the world.
Of particular interest is the underground ancient “crypt” of the church dating back to its construction. Having returned to light in 1917 because of the devastating fire, he undertook extensive restoration and maintenance work while opening his gates to the public in the form of a show / museum in 1988. According to the Christian tradition, it is the exact point where the Saint was imprisoned and martyred 303 A.D. It is a remarkably well-designed and restored ancient structure that impresses most visitors because of the imposing atmosphere and exhibits that come from different periods of time. Many of these will surprise you.
Know that …
Entrance to the Temple and the Crypt is free
Relatively small is the distance that separates the temple from Aristotle Square and the Roman Forum.
Address: Agiou Dimitriou 97, tel. 2310 270008, website: http://www.inad.gr