At the center of Thessaloniki, only 5 minutes away by walking from Aristotelous square, on Agios Dimitrios str., is located the Church of Agios Dimitrios and is considered the most important Early Christian monument for many reasons.
The Church is identified with the town’s history and the incidents the marked it.
It’s a great sample of architecture, and many reconstructions, additions and disasters have occurred throughout the years.
A small chapel was constructed during the 4th century A.D. over the ruins of older roman baths, which were located in the same area. A century later the initial structure was replaced by a three-aisled Basilica, but the final construction was in 629 – 634 A.D. as a five aisled basilica.
A number of different styles have been applied to the church, making it unique in terms of religious art. The Church has an unusual, hexagonal shape, which is very rare. The beautiful 5th-century mosaics and the rich panted and marble decoration gift the Church big merit.
In the big fire of 1917, the building was fully destroyed, like many other buildings that are located in the historical center of Thessaloniki. Massive restoration efforts took place after the fire that lasted for many years. Church of Agios Dimitrios attracts many guests every day from all over Greece, Eastern Europe, Balkan countries and many other orthodox countries as well.
The church remains open daily from 6:00 to 22:00.
The life of Agios Dimitrios
Agios Dimitrios was born and raised in Thessaloniki, during the years of the reign of Diocletian, a great persecutor of Christians.
He was very educated and came from prominent parents.
So, King Galerius chose him as a member of the City Senate and appointed him General for entire Thessaly.
Agios Dimitrios taught the citizens of Thessaloniki in favor of Christianity.
Once Diocletian was informed for his actions, he ordered Agios Dimitrios’ imprisonment. He was being tormented and eventually killed.