The Archaeological Site of Algai is located in the Prefecture of Imathia, Region of Central Macedonia in Greece. Inside the site, you will find the ancient city of Algai, the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia. It was discovered in the 19th century in northern Greece near Vergina.

Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina) you gotta go here
Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina) you gotta go here

The Archaeological Site of Algai is located in the Prefecture of Imathia, Region of Central Macedonia in Greece. Inside the site, you will find the ancient city of Algai, the first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia. It was discovered in the 19th century in northern Greece near Vergina.

Important remains in the city are the lavishly decorated palace, the burial ground that features more than 300 tumuli, and some sandstones that date as early as 11th century BC. One of the tombs in the larger Tumulus is identified to have been that of Philip II who had conquered all the Greek cities that paved way for his son, Alexander the Great to be able to spread the Hellenistic world to territories beyond Greece confines. The city vividly brings to fore the imperial structure during the Hellenistic and the Roman periods.

History

1. Establishment

Aigai was traditionally founded by Perdiccas I when the Macedonians of the Argive spread northwards over the plain of Emathia in a region that had already been settled in the early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC).

2. Algai the capital of Macedonia

As the capital of the Macedonian kingdom and site of the royal court, Aigai was the most important urban centre in the region throughout the archaic period (800-500 BC) and the following century. The grave-goods in a series of tombs dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC demonstrate commercial and cultural links with Greek centers of eastern lonia and the south. At the end of the 5th century, Archelaus brought to his court artists, poets and philosophers from all over the Greek world.

3. Change of capital

Although the administrative center was transferred to Pella in the 4th century BC, Aigai retained its role as the sacred city of the Macedonian kingdom, the site of the traditional cult centers, and the royal tombs.

4. Assassination of Philip II

Philip II was assassinated in the theatre and Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. The bitter struggles between the heirs of Alexander, the Diadochoi, in the 3rd century adversely affected the city, and it was further slighted after the overthrow of the Macedonian kingdom by the Romans in 168 BC.

5. Restoration

It was rebuilt and survived into early imperial times. However, between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD the population progressively moved down from the foothills of the Pierian range to the plain, so that all that remained was a small settlement whose name, Palatitsia (palace), alone indicated its former importance.

Attractions

  • The Monumental Palace - This building was the political, cultural and administrative center.
  • The Theater
  • The necropolis
  • Cemetery of the Tumuli - This contains over 300 grave-mounds, some as early as the 11th century BC. Of the grave mounds, the most impressive is the Great Tumulus, an artificial mound 110 m in diameter and 13 m high. Beneath the Great Tumulus are 4 tombs, one contains paintings representing the rape of Persephone, the other contained a casket of solid gold and is believed to have been where the remains of Philip II remained, and the other 2 tombs contains rich collection of art and gold.

In terms of political history, this site outclasses all the other royal tombs that can be found in Greece. This is a reason enough to make you visit it.


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