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Byzantine Thessalonike

The Rotunda
The church of the Acheiropoietos
The basilica of Ayios Demetrios
The chapel of Ayios Euthymios
The monastery of Hosios David
The metropolitan church of Ayia Sophia
The church of the Panayia Chalkeon
The church of the Ayioi Apostoloi
The church of Ayios Nikolaos Orphanos
The church of Prophitis Elias
Vlatadon Monastery
The White Tower
The walls of Thessalonike

Images on this page

Saint Leon
Saint Leon, detail of the frieze of martyrs, late 4th to early 5th century, Thessalonike, Rotunda.

Saint Priskos
Saint Priskos, detail of the frieze of martyrs, late 4th to early 5th century, Thessalonike, Rotunda.

PreviousUpNext The Rotunda, Thessalonike


Saint Leon
Late 4th to early 5th century


Saint Priskos
Late 4th to early 5th century

The large circular building known as the Rotunda served as the place of worship within the architectural complex erected in the early 4th century AD by the Roman emperor Galerius. Following the triumph of Christianity it was converted into a church by the emperor Theodosios I (379-395).

The monument is of great significance in respect of early Christian art, for the mosaics that decorate its interior are unique in the East and denote a high degree of skill based on the precepts that underlie traditional Hellenistic painting.

The frieze depicting martyrs in a visionary and otherworldly procession is an outstanding composition. Saints at prayer before elaborate architectural facades link the ephemeral character of life on earth with the everlasting character of life in heaven. Material things are subjugated to effect a work of superb artistry and unrivalled spirituality.

See Also
Civilization - Architecture (324-565)
Painting (324-565)
Sculpture, metalwork and pottery (324-565)
Travelling - The Galerian complex and the Hippodrome
Byzantine Macedonia


Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.