At the beginning of the 4th century BC the capital of the Macedonian kingdom was transferred to Pella, on the shores of Lake Loudias, which communicated with the Thermaic Gulf. Easy access across the open plain contributed to the city's development. Intellectual and artistic personalities from southern Greece flocked to the Macedonian court in a period of administrative and military reforms.
Under Philip II and Alexander III Pella became a metropolis with an impressive complex of palaces and luxurious private houses. The city was gradually cut off from the sea due to the silting of the rivers Axios, Haliakmon and Loudias, and was extended and reorganized by Cassander.
Laid out according to the Hippodameian system, Pella had strong brick walls, a sophisticated water supply and sewer system, broad paved streets leading to the port, and a central 'agora' with workshops producing and shops selling pottery, figurines, metal objects and foodstuffs. At the city's sanctuaries Athena Alkidemos, Poseidon, Herakles, Aphrodite, Demeter and other deities were worshipped.
Although the city was pillaged by the Romans, it did not cease to exist until the 1st century BC, when it was destroyed, probably by an earthquake. In 30 AD the Roman colony of Pella ('Colonia Pellensis') was founded west of the city, at the site of present-day Nea Pella.