The Palace where Alexander the Great was Born to Open for Visitors Next Summer



Alexander the Great: Mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii. Credit: Wikipedia

Greece’s Ministry of Culture estimates that the palace in Pella where Alexander the Great was born will be open for visitors next summer, according to an Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) report.

When the relics of the building which was excavated in 1957 were discovered, no one knew it was the palace where the king of the Macedonians grew up. In the arena located a short distance from the building, the successor to the throne, to become the most powerful conqueror in the world, once played sports with the children of the aristocracy and exercised in its immense swimming pool.

“The palace had a public character and inside was the room where the banquets took place, or the throne room, if I am allowed to use this expression,” the director of Pella  Ephorate of Antiquities, Elisavet Tsigarida, told AMNA.

The ephorate director emphasized that the works in the area are currently in full swing, with funding from the National Strategic Reference Framework, while noting that the site will be open to the public in the summer of 2021.

The visitor will be able to see the palace’s floor plan at the foundation level while the goal of the Pella Ephorate of Antiquities is to present a digital tour in the visitor center, which is expected to be built in 2023.

In the center, the visitor will be able to watch the digital representation not only of the palace where the Macedonian king was born, but the complex which consisted of seven huge buildings as well, with inner courtyards, corridors, stairwells and galleries which were connected to each other.

“The total area is around 70 acres. These dimensions can be understood if we take into account the fact that Pella was the capital of the Macedonian Kingdom at the time. The original palace was smaller, but it was expanded after the campaign of Alexander the Great,” Tsigarida said.

“The period from 320 to 250 BC was a time of great prosperity for Macedonia, while the wealth of the palace was also known. Let’s not forget that throughout the third and second century BC, Pella was the center of the Macedonian Kingdom, one of the most important states of the time,” Tsigarida continued.

The palace was looted by the Romans when the Macedonians were defeated in 168 BC, with the victorious army heading straight to Pella. According to the head of the Ephorate of Antiquities, “The Romans did not destroy the city but looted the palace, where of course there were treasures. They even took the king and his family as slaves in Rome, to show their triumph.”

The fate of the royal family was unspeakably cruel, and the once-glittering palace was abandoned to its ignominious fate as well. However, the city continued to exist during Roman times, since the Egnatia Highway, a road that connected East and West, passed through it.