SPECIALS/EVENTS IN THE AEGEAN SEA
AGIOS DIMITRIOS (THESSALONIKI)The magnificent basilica Agios Dimitrios, dedicated to the patron saint of the city of Thessaloniki, is one of the most important early Christian churches and one of the most imposing religious buildings in the city.
Agios Dimitrios basilica: Thessaloniki is full of churches from the early Christian, Byzantine period. They are characterized by their countless mosaics and paintings from almost ten centuries. The Agios Dimitrios, which was built in honor of St. Dimitrios, the patron saint of the city, is one of them. It lies at the foot of the hill of the upper town near the old market.
It was built on the ruins of a Roman spa where, according to legend, the saint was arrested in 303 and martyred for refusing to obey the orders of Emperor Diocletian. The first church was built in this place shortly after the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in the Roman Empire and was initially nothing more than a small chapel. In 413, the expansion to a small basilica took place. In the following centuries, some of the most important masterpieces of Byzantine ecclesiastical art were created inside the Agios Dimitrios. Those, however, were "swept off" in 1493 with the conquest of Thessaloniki by the Ottomans who transformed the church into a mosque.
Finally, in 1912, with the liberation of Greece, the Orthodox Church took back Agios Dimitrios. However, it was not until the devastating effects of the Great Fire of 1917 and subsequent renovations that the old crypt of the church and the tomb of Saint Dimitrios were rediscovered. Numerous archaeological finds discovered during the excavations in the crypt are now displayed as a vivid collection in the crypt areas.
A visit to the Agios Dimitrios is particularly worthwhile towards the end of October: Every year on October 26th, the people of Thessaloniki celebrate the name day of their patron saint.
Since 1988, the church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage of early Christian and Byzantine buildings in Thessaloniki. A must see place during your biking vacation in Thessaloniki and its surrounding.
daily from 08:00 – 22:00
Crypt of Saint Demetrios:
Monday – Thursday 8:00 - 15:00
Friday 08:00 - 13:00 and in the afternoon during the service
Saturday and Sunday 07:30 - 14: 30
Entrance fee: Free