Agora of Thessaloniki
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The center of ancient Thessaloniki was traversed by main street of the city, the Roman Via Regia, the Leophoros of the Byzantines, which started at the west entrance, the Golden Gate and ran beneath the modern Egnatia Street. To the north of this street is the Roman Agora, which had an entrance from the Via Regia, and consisted of a monumental complex with public squares and buildings. The lncantadas, a number of ancient statues now housed in the Louvre, came from the colonnade on the south of the lower square in the Agora, and there was a large public bath-house and a library on the north side of the Agora. 
The Roman Forum took shape in the late 2nd - early 3rd century AD. Despite the erection of a number of buildings, and other changes, during the Early Christian period, it continued to function as the social center of the city until the 7th century AD. The second square on its south side, the Megalophoros, was an open square without colonnades in the Byzantine period. The Odeion, too, behind the east stoa of the Agora, which was used during the time of Diocletian's persecution as an arena for gladiatorial combats and battles between Christians and wild beasts, continued to function until at least the end of the 6th century AD. 
Characteristic examples of the changes that took place in the Agora during the Early Christian period were the conversion of the south, semi-subterranean stoa (cryptoporticus) into a large cistern that formed part of the city water-supply system, and the building of a healing shrine in the east section of this same stoa, from which a large wall-painting with two figures of martyrs has been discovered. 


Wandering in Byzantine Thessaloniki by E. Kourkoutidou-Nikolaidou 

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The Byzantine Legacy
Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016