Last Friday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated the opening of the recently restored Palace of Aigai. The palace, the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was also where Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. The most prominent building complex of ancient Greece, Aigai, was built from the vision of Alexander’s father, Phillip II (359-336 BCE).
Located in northern Greece, the Palace of Aigai was fully reopened to the public after an extensive 16-year renovation that cost more than 20 million euros. Built some 2,300 years ago, Aigai was the royal capital of Phillip II, who had transformed his kingdom into a dominant military power.
Extensive column-lined courts, courtyards, ritual spaces, and feasting halls grace the 15,000-square-meter palace. Decorated floors pattered in marble and complex mosaics attest to the cultural significance of the palace. Aigai was the administrative and spiritual centre of Phillip II’s kingdom. A World Heritage Site, the renovated palace is also close to the royal tombs outside the modern village of Vergina, which were discovered by the famous Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos.
Inside one of these lavish tombs, Andronikos and his colleagues discovered a golden casket (at right), a horde of other gold artefacts, and the bones widely believed to be those of Philip II. The discoveries revealed the sophistication of the ancient Macedonians, who had often been considered primitive in historical accounts and primarily focused on Athens.
Three times the size of the Parthenon, King Phillip’s palace was a remarkable symbol of power and beauty, which was visible from the whole Macedonian basin.
Spread out over 800,000 hectares, the ancient city was surrounded by a formidable wall in the center of the Aigai Land (Goat Land). It was built at the intersection of the routes between the Macedonian Basin and Thessaly.
We suggest visiting the official website for readers interested in learning more about the Palace of Aigai.