St Demetrios' Church : Michelin's recommendations
The impressive St Demetrios' Church (Ágios Dimítrios) marks the site of the martyrdom and tomb of St Demetrios, patron saint of Thessaloníki. After the fire in 1917 the church was totally restored to reproduce the 7C basilica that was preceded by an atrium; some of the old material was re-used. On the north side are traces of Roman baths and of a minaret (the church became a mosque from 1491 to 1912). The interior, which is surprisingly large, has a nave and four aisles.The carved capitals crown the superb ancient columns in green, white and red marble, which have been re-used. The pillars on either side of the entrance to the apse are decorated with small 7C mosaics of remarkably fine design and colouring: (right pillar) Demetrios and a deacon bearing the gospel, Demetrios between the two founders of the church; (left pillar) Demetrios between two children, then the Virgin and St Theodore, a later composition. The relics of St Demetrios, which were recovered from Italy in 1980, are venerated before the iconostasis. A stairway descends from the apse (right) to a crypt where, according to tradition, the miraculous oil which flowed from the saint's tomb beneath the high altar was collected. The marble bassin is probably part of the Roman baths where Demetrios was imprisoned before being martyred. At the back of the church near the nave (right) there is a 15C Florentine sarcophagus. The external chapel is thought to mark the site of St Demetrios' original tomb.
- Address : Agiou Dimitriou GR - 546 33 Thessaloníki546 33Thessaloníki
- Phone : 231 027 0591
- Prices : free of charge
Opening hours :
- crypt 8am-5pm, weekends 8.30am-3pm - closed Mon