Thessaloniki's Metro

New archaeological find in Thessaloniki subway rekindles old tensions

 

Thessaloniki's Metro

New archaeological find in Thessaloniki subway rekindles old tensions

The new impressive archaeological discovery in the the Greek city of Thessaloniki is a marble paved square from the Byzantine times which was discovered because of the work done for the creation of the city’s Metropolitan Subway.It is the first time that such a finding comes to light; a similar shaped square paved with marble is found only in the city of Jerash in Jordan. The square goes back to the 6th century AD and is just a few blocks from the Venizelos Station where the Byzantine avenue of Thessaloniki, the famous “Decumanus Maximus” has been revealed. 

According to the opinion of Greece’s Central Archaeological Council signed by Minister of Culture Ms. Lydia Koniordou, the Byzantine avenue will remain as is while, taking into account the importance of the finding, the issue is expected to come up for discussion at the CAC.

Tensions between Thessaloniki archaeologists and Attiko Metro, the company which is overseeing work to build the Thessaloniki subway system, have marked the near-decade since construction began in 2006. Recently, the two sides reached a compromise that calls for the temporary removal of ruins in order to allow construction to proceed unimpeded. If the deal holds, it will enable the preservation of 80 percent of discovered artifacts.

The ruins unearthed in Greece’s second city have led some to hail it as a “second Pompeii.” Current excavations are focused on the so-called “intra muros” stations – those that sit within the limits of the city’s Theodosian walls – and the “extra muros” stations – those located outside these late antique fortifications.

According to BBC, “rather than joy and excitement, the unearthing of what an academic called “a Byzantine Pompeii” at the heart of modern day Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, has caused bitter controversy in a country clutching at economic straws.”