HISTORY
DESCRIPTION
SITE MONUMENTS
THE MUSEUM
INFORMATION
 
 
Only a small part of the site of Pella, which covers an area of approximately four square kilometres, is open to the public. Located north of the Thessaloniki-Giannitsa road, this includes several houses (House of Dionysus, House of Helen's Rapture, House of Poseidon, House of the Wall plaster) and part of the agora. Other excavated sectors, such as the palace, the sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods and Aphrodite, and the sanctuary of Darron, are not accessible. The monuments visible today belong mostly to the Hellenistic period. Sparse remains of the Classical period near the modern irrigation channel indicate that the core of the city was located south of the Thessaloniki-Giannitsa road during this period. The early cemetery identified in the area east and northeast of the agora marks the eastern limits of the Classical city.

The eastern limits of the Hellenistic city stretched 800 metres east of the Classical cemetery, while the palatial compound marked its northern limits. The city's southern and western limits have not yet been located. Parts of its powerful fortification walls, mentioned by ancient authors, were excavated north of the palace. The palatial compound occupies the northernmost hill of the city. It covers an area of 60,000 square metres and consists of four units surrounding a large court. South of the palace, in the plain, is the agora, the city's centre of manufacturing and commercial activities. This huge building complex of 70,000 square metres, located at the heart of the city, included shops, workshops, administration offices and the city's archive, where several clay papyrus sealings were found. All around the agora spread the city's Hippodamian grid plan, with city blocks defined by streets perpendicular to one another. Monumental, paved roads with sidewalks lead from the port to the main avenue of the agora facilitating commercial activity, while well-designed water supply and sewage systems improved life conditions for city dwellers. The private houses illustrate the city's sophistication and wealth. Many had Doric or Ionic peristyles, a second floor and fine mosaic floors (House of Dionysus and the Lion Hunt, House of Helen's Rapture, House of the Deer Hunt and House of the Amazonomachy).

Several sanctuaries, both inside and outside the city, provide information on religious practices and architecture at Pella. The Thesmophorion, dedicated to Demetra Thesmophoros, situated at the northeast end of the city, consists of a circular enclosure with an altar at its centre and carvings on the floor. The sanctuary of Aphrodite-Cybele, Mother of the Gods, north of the Agora, is an open-air space with a temple possibly of the Mother of the Gods. This sanctuary compound also included workshops, storerooms and a symposium hall. The sanctuary of the healing god Darron, identified by an inscription, is located near the modern irrigation channel and consists of open-air areas, a temple, a fountain, a cistern and votive pits.

The cemeteries were located outside the city. The earliest, near the agora, contains rock-cut cist graves. The so-called Macedonian tombs, which consist of underground vaulted chamber covered by tumuli, appeared later, in the second half of the fourth century BC.
Author
M. Lilimpaki-Akamati, archaeologist