Aerial view of Aigai Palace after years of restoration work. This palace is where Alexander the Great was coronated as King of Macedon, and is considered alongside the Parthenon, not only the largest but also the most important building of classical Greece.
Greece has restored and reopened the ancient palace where Alexander the Great became king of Macedonia some 2,400 years ago.
The Aigai Palace, officially known as the Royal Macedonian Metropolis, is the largest building in classical Greece, measuring approximately 15,000 square meters, according to the Greek Ministry of Culture.
It was primarily built in the 4th century BC by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.
“This is where Alexander the Great was crowned king some time after his father’s assassination and began his glorious campaign,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the opening ceremony on Friday.
Under Alexander’s reign, he conquered vast areas from modern-day Greece to Egypt and Iran, to northern India and central Asia.
His empire, unseen in Western history at the time, began what historians call the Hellenistic period, which lasted from his death until the rise of the Roman Empire.
Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty Images
The Greek Prime Minister inaugurated the restored palace earlier this week.
His conquests laid the foundation for Greek influence in the eastern Mediterranean for the next 1,000 years. Many important documents from this region are written in Greek, including early versions of the New Testament.
The Romans destroyed the palace in 148 BC, and it was frequently pillaged in the years that followed.
Restoring the birthplace of such an impressive empire was no easy task. It took the Greek government 16 years, with support from the European Union and more than 20 million euros ($21.9 million) in funding, according to the Greek Ministry of Culture.
“What we are doing today is an event of global significance and international scope,” Mitsotakis said.
Restoration work included excavating the site, documenting and preserving the discovered artifacts. According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Greek government restored 1,400 square meters of mosaics, marble floors and some columns, preserving the overall appearance of the site.
“The importance of such monuments transcends local boundaries and becomes the property of all humanity. And we, as custodians of this precious cultural heritage, are committed to protecting, highlighting and promoting it, while at the same time , we must expand the horizons revealed by each new dimension,” Mitsotakis said.