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VERGINA

Is a small town in northern Greece, located in the prefecture of Imathia, Central Macedonia. The town bacame famous in 1977 when the Greek archaeologist Andronikos Manolis unearthed what he claimed was the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. Population: about 2000 people

HISTORY

Modern Vergina was founded in 1922 near the two small agricultural villages of Koutles and Barbes, previously owned by the Turkish bey of Palatitsa and inhabited by 25 Greek serf families. After the Treaty of Laussanne and the eviction of the Bey landlords, the land was distributed in lots to the existing inhabitants, and to 121 other Greek families from Bulgaria and Asia Minor after population exchange agreements between Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. The name for the new town was suggested by the then Metropolital of Veria, who named it after a legendary queen of ancient Beroea (modern Veria).

THE MUSEUM AND THE ARTIFACTS

The museum which was inaugurated in 1993 was built in a way to protect the tombs, exhibit the artifacts and show the tumulus as it was before the excavations. Inside the museum there are four tombs and one small temple, the heroon built as the temple of the great tomb of Philip II of Macedon. The two most important graves were not sacked and contained the main treasures of the museum. The tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander was discovered in 1977 and was separated in two rooms. The main room included a marble sarcophagus, and in it was the larnax made of 24 carat gold and weighing 11 kilograms. Inside the golden larnax the bones of the dead were found and a golden wreath of 313 oak leaves and 68 acorns, weighing 717 grams. In the room were also found the golden and ivory panoply of the dead, the richly-carved burial bed on which he was laid and later burned and silver utensils for the funeral feast. In the antechamber, there was another sarcophagus with another smaller golden larnax containing the bones of a woman wrapped in a golden-purple cloth with a golden diadem decorated with flowers and enamel. There was one more partially destroyed by the fire burial bed and on it a golden wreath representing leaves and flowers of myrtle. Above the Doric order entrance of the tomb there is a wall painting measuring 5.60 metres which represents a hunting scene. In 1978 another burial site was also discovered near the tomb of Philip, which belongs to Alexander IV of Macedon, son of Alexander the Great. It was slightly smaller than the previous and was not sacked too. It was also arranged in two parts, but only the main room contained a cremated body this time. On a stone pedestal was found a silver hydria which contained the bones and on it a golden oak wreath. There were also utensils and weaponry. A narrow frieze with a chariot race decorated the walls of the tomb. The other two tombs were found to have been sacked. The "tomb of Persephone" was discovered in 1977 and although it contained no valuable things found, on its walls was found a marvellous wall painting showing the abduction of Persephone by Pluto. The other tomb, discovered in 1980, is heavily damaged and may have contained valuable treasures while it had an impressive entrance with four Doric columns. It was built in the 4th century BC and the archaeologists believe that the tomb belonged to Antigonus II Gonatas.

 

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