House of Dionysos at Pella, Macedonia

House of Dionysos at Pella, Macedonia - History

In the old Pella museum, this and other mosaics (for example Lion Hunt mosaic, also from the "House of Dionysos") were exhibited on the walls and could be appreciated by the viewer as masterpieces of ancient mosaic art. Unfortunately, the designers of the new museum's exhibition decided to follow recent the museum trend of placing such works on the floor, motivated by the belief that this is somehow more "authentic" and that visitors will better appreciate their original effect as floor decorations.

This renders them very difficult to view, especially the larger works, a difficulty often exacerbated by reflections from museum and natural lighting on the surfaces of the tesserae or stones.

Having seen many floor mosaics in their original situations, in buildings and at archaeological sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Sardis and Ephesus, I have often been impressed by their effectiveness as floor decoration fitted to interior spaces.

The exhibition of the Great Palace Mosaic Museum in Istanbul works well because raised walkways have been built around the enormous floor mosaics which lie in situ. The mosaics can be seen clearly and enjoyed as images. This approach is not possible at most sites and museums, mainly due to the costs involved and space required neither is it a generally applicable solution to the problem posed by the notion of the "authenticity" of museum experiences.

(See a mosaic in the Great Palace Mosaic Museum at The Cheshire Cat Blog.)

However, when a decision is made to remove such mosaics from their original locations and into museums, exhibition designers have the oppoprtunity to display them as works of art.

Many Greek and Roman pictorial mosaics are thought to have been copied from famous paintings mentioned by ancient authors (see, for example the "Alexander Mosaic" in Naples and the "Sleeping Ariadne" from Ephesus both mosaics now exhibited on walls). The original paintings are lost forever and these mosaics are among the few surviving artefacts which reflect important aspects of ancient painting, such as composition, use of colour, shade, representation of archtiecture, nature, space, figures and their relationships to each other.

When these paintings in stone and glass are placed on museum floors their power as images is diminished - often lost completely. There may be an argument for laying abstract and purely decorative mosaics horizontally as representative examples of floor coverings, but even then the study of the motifs and patterns employed is hampered for those of us who do not have necks like giraffes.

A mosaic of Dionysos and "Sleeping Ariadne" from Ephesus,
now in the Izmir Archaeological Museum, Turkey:
Selcuk photo gallery 2

The "Alexander Mosaic" from Pompeii, depicting
Alexander the Great in battle with King Darius III:
Alexander the Great
in our People section

A Hellenistic mosaic, signed by Hephaistion, from Pergamon,
now in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany:
Pergamon photo gallery 2

Ancient mosaics depicting the Gorgon Medusa

Mosaics at Dion Archaeological Site, Macedonia, Greece:
Dion: garden of the Gods
at the Cheshire Cat Blog

Mosaics of Saint John the Theologian, on Patmos, Greece:
Patmos photo gallery

Modern mosaic commemorating Saint Paul
the Apostle's visit to Veria, Macedonia, Greece:
Veria photo gallery

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Pella
originally appeared in 2004 on

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have been attributed where applicable.

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Pella, ancient capital of King Archelaus of Macedonia at the end of the 5th century bc and birthplace of Alexander the Great. The city lay in northern Greece, about 24 miles (39 km) northwest of Thessaloníki. Originally known as Bounomos, the city developed rapidly under Philip II, but, after the defeat of the last Macedonian king by the Romans (168 bc ), it became a small provincial town.

The site of Pella has long been known. Excavations there by the Greek Archaeological Service begun in 1957 revealed large, well-built houses with colonnaded courts and rooms with mosaic floors portraying such scenes as a lion hunt and Dionysus riding a panther. These mosaics are made with small natural pebbles of various colours, carefully matched and laid, and are masterpieces of their kind. They date from the late 4th century bc . Excavations revealed the town to be laid out on a rectangular grid plan with streets more than 30 feet (10 m) wide. Under the streets are terra-cotta pipes for distributing fresh water.

This article was most recently revised and updated by John M. Cunningham, Readers Editor.

House of Dionysos at Pella, Macedonia - History

Several books and articles deal with various aspects of ancient Macedonian history and culture, particularly dealing with Alexander the Great and Macedons' relations with other Greek states. A growing number of book chapters, monographs and articles published since the early 20th century explore the history and archaeology of Pella, a great many of them in Greek and the majority academic discussions on specific subjects such as politics, literature, economics, pottery, mosaics, coins, etc. Some of these we refer to in the articles and gallery pages of this guide.

So far very few books have been designed to inform the general reader or visitor. Here we look at two guidebooks to Pella which we think do a pretty good job.

Το Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Πέλλας

Maria Lilibaki-Akamati, Ioannis M. Akamatis,
Anastasia Chrysostomou, Pavlos Chrysostomou

Translation: Judy Giannokopoulou

Photography: Socratis Mavrommatis

Design & artistic supervision: Dimitris Kalkyris

Funding: John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation
and EFG Eurobank Ergasias S.A.

Publication place / date: Athens 2011.

Format: hardback, with dust cover (photo, right)

Pages: 396, with copious colour photos.

Price: not available for retail sale

Limited edition of 2000 copies

ISBN English edition: 978-960-9590-00-6

ISBN Greek edition: 978-960-89339-9-6

E-book: English and Greek (Latsis Foundation website)

Published just after the opening of the new Pella Archaeological Museum, this large, lavishly illustrated tome discusses the history of archaeology at the site and the development of the museum's collection, with details of particular objects, and the design of the new building. It also has chapters on the history of Pella, the Macedonian tombs, the Roman colony at Nea Pella and the nearby Archaic settlement of Archontiko.

It is part of the excellent series "The Museums Cycle" (Ο κύκλος των μουσείων), produced by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the Latsis Group and the Eurobank Banking Group, which jointly finance a new guide to a Greek archaeological museum each year. The series places emphasis on attractively designed guides with first rate photographs and illustrations, clear texts written by experts in particular fields of history and archaeology and some more technical and scientific details concerning research at sites and museums. There are no indexes, and as you may expect, most of the publications listed in the bibliographies are in Greek.

The volume on Pella is certainly the best printed guide to the site and museum currently available, although it is unfortunately not on sale in bookshops. Like all the books in the series it was produced as a limited edition for libraries and institutions. It is a very large book - almost A3 - and weighs 3.5 kg, so it is not something you could slip in your suitcase or daypack for your visit to the museum. Fortunately, the Latsis Group have provided their online library, so that all the books in this series can be read as e-books.

Πέλλα: πρωτεύουσα των Μακεδόνων

Separate editions in Greek and English

Authors: Maria Siganidou, Dr. Maria Lilimpaki-Akamati *

Publisher: Archaeological Receipts Fund, Ministry of Culture, Athens

Publisher's website: (Greek and English)

Publication date: 1996. 2nd edition 2003.

Pages: 74, with several colour photos, 2 plans, a map and bibliography

English edition ISBN 10: 960-214-146-8 ISBN 13: 9789602141465

Greek edition ISBN: 960-214144-1

The Greek Ministry of Culture's Archaeological Receipts Fund (ΤΑΠΑ, TAPA) produces several attractive illustrated guide books to archaeological sites and museums which are definitely value for money.

For a mere €6 you get 74 handsomely designed, well written and illustrated pages containing a wealth of information about Pella's history and archaeology, including some of the beautiful mosaics, statuettes and other objects at the site and in the museum. There are also plans of the site and the agora, as well as a map of towns and archaeological sites of West and Central Macedonia.

Try to obtain a copy before visiting Pella. It can definitely help you understand the place and enhance your experience when you get there.

Maria Siganidou (Μαρία Σιγανίδου, 1928-1995) was the Curator of Antiquities of Macedonia and director of excavations at Pella. Dr. Maria Lilibaki-Akamati (Μαρία Λιλιμπάκη-Ακαμάτη, * here transliterated as Lilimpaki), who also wrote several chapters of the more recent book Τhe Archaeological Museum of Pella (see above), is Honorary Curator of Antiquities and plays a very active role in transmitting the importance of Macedonian history and archaeology to the public.

This edition may now be a little outdated as a lot has changed at Pella since it was first published in 1996 (with a second edition 2003-2004), particularly the further expansion and restoration of the site, the opening of the new museum (2010) and ever more new discoveries at Pella itself and nearby related sites. Still it remains a splendid introduction to the site, the history of Pella and the museum's exhibits, and the best that you can buy.

There is currently no information about this book on the TAPA website (just a cover photo and the price) and it appears to be out of stock (or out of print?). You may be able to find a copy at an archaeological museum or site shop (some larger museum shops, such as those at Athens and Delphi, sell a wide range of publications). There are several copies for sale at reasonable prices on the internet.

Given the recent increased interest by scholars, students and tourists in Pella, it could well be time for a new edition, and perhaps (why not?) a more compact version of the Latsis tome.

Some of the information and photos in this guide to Pella
originally appeared in 2004 on

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

Images and materials by other authors
have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
project or publication, please get in contact.

House of Dionysos at Pella, Macedonia - History

The virtual reconstruction of the “House of Dionysos” in Pella represents the oldest phase of the building, at the beginning of the Hellenistic period. The house is surrounded by a simplified version of the urban landscape so as to give a general idea of the original surroundings.

The oldest phase of the house dates back to the late fourth century BC and has two large courtyards, one with Doric and one with Ionic colonnade. These courtyards are separated by a central wing with a monumental entrance. The south wing has a second floor. The interior of the section for men, called Andron, is represented as in a day of a symposium, with beds, vases and other objects, the design of which is based on discoveries from the same period, brought to light in Macedonia.

The house is restored according to scientific publications and, in some cases, with the use of architectural details preserved in the neighboring houses, found in excavations. The Doric peristyle, for example, has been recreated according to the peristyle that is better preserved in the “House of the abduction of Helen”. Following the example of another antechamber of the same house overlooking the court with the Ionic peristyle, the facades of each antechamber of the Andron with the mosaic floors are represented by pillars in series. Four of these pillars form a triple entry. On both sides of the entry there are two smaller pillars creating a type of side windows. This is a typical arrangement in Macedonia and it is inspired by similar provisions as in the palace of Pella and Vergina.

The reconstruction of the roof only utilizes tiles and antefixes that match the first phase of construction before any repairs or additions. The murals are made with darker colors in the lower walls while the top is bright. The findings of the “House of mortars” are used as guideline. Digital images of high resolution provide evidence for the Androns, their entrances and their antechambers.

In the Andron “of the lion hunt”, a symposium scene is represented with beds and tables that are not exact replicates but represent similar objects found in Macedonian tombs (Potidaea, Vergina, Aghios Athanasios and Ganos). Fabric designs and mattresses on beds are inspired by similar designs of the ceramic art of Attica and specialized studies on beds in ancient Greece.

The symposium room is furnished with silver, bronze and clay vases, as well as with other objects used in these events (lamps, candelabras). The selection has been made amongst those artifacts presented in the Louvre museum (Derveni, Vergina).

Finally, in the Andron “Dionysus”, a bed of late Hellenistic type with turned legs and decoration of bronze fulcrum is reconstructed according to discoveries found in Pella that are also included in the Louvre museum exhibition.


House of Dionysos at Pella, Macedonia - History

Late 4th century BC

The most important group of mosaics in Macedonia was found at Pella , capital of the kingdom from the beginning of the 4th century BC. The mosaics date to the end of the 4th century BC, and were found mainly in two houses of the city, the "House of Dionysos" and the "House of the Abduction of Helen" where they adorned the floors of the formal rooms.

Their depictions belong to two categories: those with simply a geometric decoration covering the entire surface of the floor, and those with representative subjects, such as hunts, Amazonomachy (battle of Amazons) and others.

The efforts to indicate volume by the use of shading is noteworthy. The color scale is limited, with most figures being in pale shades against a neutral background. In some cases there is an attempt to suggest the natural space in which the figures move. One mosaic floor bears the artist's signature: "Gnosis epoesen" (Gnosis made this).

Novel elements are evident in the technique for laying these floors: for the first time use is made of the size of the pebbles and new materials are also used, such as semi-precious stones or glass tesserae for the detail. Strips of lead and bands of baked clay emphasize the outlines.

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Little is known of the pre-Cassandreian city. The larger part of the inhabited area, as well as the cemetery dating from the first half of the 4th century B.C., appear to have been razed during the laying-out of Cassander's ambitious urban design. To the time of Philip II, however, belong a number of cist graves to the east, and possibly also the main part of the palace on the so-called acropolis. The grid used in post-Alexandrian Pella consists of two sets of straight, parallel streets, intersecting at right angles to form rectangular blocks of buildings. In this system, known as the "Hippodameian" plan, the short side of the rectangle is invariably 47 m. The long side (north-south), in contrast, varies in a set pattern (125, 111, 125, 150, 125 m. etc.). The width of the streets running through the city from east to west is about 9 m., that of those oriented north-south about 6 m.

The Agora

This area, of great importance in every ancient city, is integrated harmoniously into the urban tissue, covering five building blocks in an east-west direction. It is narrower on the south, to allow the creation of five small blocks of buildings that were given over to commercial establishments and workshops. With dimensions of roughly 200 m. x 182 m., the main area of the Agora, together with the stoas encircling it, and the shops on the sides, formed a building complex of imposing scale. A broad avenue, 15 m. wide, started in the centre of it and ran to east and west through the entire width of the city, connecting it with Edessa in one direction and Thessalonike in the other. The construction of the Agora in the form known today is probably not much earlier than the last quarter of the 3rd century B.C., and may well date from the early years of the reign of Philip V. The complex was destroyed, either by an earthquake or by the raids of barbarian Thracian tribes, probably in the first twenty years of the 1st century B.C.

The houses

Following the articulation typical of the ancient Greek house, the private residence at Pella in the late Classical period has a distinctly introverted character. The plain, undecorated exterior stands in contrast to the interior of the rooms, arranged around a square courtyard, with their richly decorated walls and multi-coloured mosaic floors. Two types of house have been identified in the Macedonian capital: one with an interior peristyle, and one with a pastas (a kind of portico). The rooms in daily use, and the rooms for the reception of guests were on the northen side, which was usually two-storeyed, while the store-rooms and the ancillary areas in general were grouped on the south side.

One of the wealthier houses with a peristyle, the House of Dionysos, with its brilliant mosaic floors depicting Dionysos riding on a panther, and a Lion Hunt, has two internal peristyle courtyards. An equally spacious house is that with mosaic floors depicting a Deer Hunt, the Abduction of Helen by Theseus, and the fragmentary scene of an Amazonomachy. Breaking new ground in their conception, the mosaics of Pella, with their subtle use of foreshortening and chiaroscuro, successfully convey a feeling of three-dimensional space. Their technique is more advanced than that of the mosaic floors of Olynthos, and their main features are the use of alternating colours, and of fine strips of clay or lead to pick out detail the representational scenes, whether used as the main motifs-as "paintings' adorning the andrones (banquet rooms)- or as decoration for the thresholds of the anterooms, are brilliant examples of painting from antiquity.

The residences of post-Alexandrian Pella were costly structures, reflecting the wealth that flowed into Mecedonia on the morrow of the campaign in Asia, and form points of reference for urban architecture in later centuries.

Things to Do in Pella, Greece

1. Explore the capital Edessa

The capital of the Pella region is Edessa, which is located in the northern part of the Central Macedonian region. It is one of the ancient capitals of the empire as well and benefits from a strategic position at the entrance of the Via Egnatia as it enters the Pindus Mountains. Edessa flourished under the Greeks, disappeared from view for a period of history, and reappeared during the 11th century. The city was fought over numerous times thanks to its location, and there are many archaeological ruins to explore.

Edessa Waterfall Park

In addition to its Hellenistic city walls and ancient military fortification ruins, Edessa is known for its waterfalls. Karanos Waterfall, the largest in Greece at 310’ high, is the centerpiece of Edessa’s Waterfall Park, located at the northeastern edge of town. The walk to the falls allows for some panoramic views of the Loggos Valley and of the waterfall. There are 11 other impressive falls within the park, all worth seeing.

Wander the Aristocratic Varosi Neighborhood in Old Town

The Varosi neighborhood is one of the oldest in Edessa, having formed within the citadel and ancient city. It is the original core of the city, and recent archaeological excavations have proved evidence of the old acropolis here. The traditional houses in Varosi are wonderful examples of the Macedonian architecture, while the city wall and Byzantine Castle remind visitors of the rich history in Varosi.

See the Byzantine church “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary”

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, also known as the Byzantine Cathedral, is located within the Varosi quarter, between the archbishop’s house and the old school. Originally known as the Church of St. Sophia, the cathedral is a three-aisled basilica and was built in the 14th century, prior to the Turkish invasion, during the Palaiologi dynasty. During the Ottoman conquest, the church was renamed in order to avoid being turned into a mosque, like so many other Byzantine churches were.

The oldest frescoes date from 1380, while the newest ones are from the 17th century. The most important piece of art in the cathedral is the 18th-century woodcut icon screen by painter Apostoli Loggianou Vodenioti. And like many other Byzantine churches, the columns here reuse pieces of columns from various other churches and structures.

Ancient Edessa

Ancient Edessa was the first capital of the Macedon empire, before Aegae and Pella. Excavations revealed the original city, which flourished in the first centuries BCE and early AD. For the first few centuries of the new era, Edessa had its own mint. Its location on the Via Egnatia allowed it to achieve prominence as a stronghold at the entrance to the mountains, even into Norman times and later the Nicaean empire. Like the rest of the region, it fell to the Turks during the Ottoman revolution.

Visit the Open-Air Water Museum

Edessa’s open-air water museum consists of some of the old watermills that powered Edessa’s workshops in the early 20th century. The museum is designed to share the history of water power from the pre-industrial times to the early 1900s.

The MIll’s area and the Kannavourgio make up the museum, which includes two flour mills, grinding machinery, a water mill, and a sesame mill, complete with equipment and capable of operation. In one of the flour mills, there is an aquarium with fish from Lake Agra-Nissi in Vretta, which is the only aquarium in Greece with freshwater fish.

2. Soak at the Pozar Thermal Baths

Visit the Pozar Thermal Baths for a unique spa experience and healing waters. Located at the base of Mount Voras, the baths (also known as Loutraki Aridaias) comprise 48 individual baths, 6 indoor pools, an outdoor pool, hammams, jacuzzi, and spa therapy. There are also some outdoor activities, like hiking, mountaineering, caving, or bird-watching, in the surrounding natural wilderness.

3. Shred Some Powder at the Kaimaktsalan Ski Centre

Kaimaktsalan Ski Centre is located on Mount Voras, 40km from Edessa. From the top, 2,480m above sea level, you can see as far as Thermaikos Gulf, the peak of Mt. Olympos, and Lake Vegoritida. No matter if you’re a skier, snowboarder, or simply want to snow tube, you can do it all here. And once you’re done, you can go relax at the chalet at the base of the ski runs.

4. Rest up in Agios Athanasios Village

Agios Athanasios is a traditional stone village in the mountains at Kaimaktsalan, near the ski resort. It is a fine example of Macedonian architecture, as most of the town is comprised of stone-built houses with tiles. Agios Athanasios is considered to be one of the best and most beautiful mountain villages in all of Greece and is very busy in the winter with visitors heading to the ski slope.

5. Archaeological Site of Pella

Pella, founded as a port city at the end of the 5th century BCE, was one of the most important political and cultural centers in Greece. It was ideally situated near fertile land, while its strategic coastal location was perfect for both defense and merchant trading. Alexander the Great was born here in 356 BCE, while the city was beginning to flourish.

By the end of the Classical period (5th and 4th centuries BCE), Pella was a bustling city, with the new urban Hippodamian grid system (seen in Priene and Miletus, in Turkey). Certainly, the city was growing quickly under Philip I and Cassander but reached its peak in the Hellenistic period under Alexander himself.

Many of the excavations found evidence of a thriving and continuously developing city from this era, including foundations of the forum, ruins of sanctuaries, palatial complex ruins, private residences, mosaics, wall frescoes, and pottery.

The first travelers to find ancient Pella were in the 18th and 19th centuries, and not coastal as it was alluvial deposits and river movement modified the coastline so much that Pella is 23km inland. They described the city as it related to the ancient texts. Modern excavations have unearthed much of the Classical and Hellenistic ruins. Conservation and excavation are ongoing and focus on the restoration of the site along with the importance of the region as a whole.

6. Archaeological Museum of Pella

The Archaeological Museum of Pella, located northeast of the archaeological site, highlights the history of Pella and the archaeological site. Designed with a central atrium, like the peristyle homes of ancient Pella, the museum is divided into themed rooms to showcase the daily life of Pella residents as well as the cultural and administrative importance of the city.

Visitors to the museum can see the impressive mosaic floors from the House of Dionysus, and the Abduction of Helen from the House of the Wall Plasters in the first room, which invites visitors to learn about the normal, daily life in the town. There are furniture pieces, clothing, and more. In the second room, the one that describes public life, visitors can see excavated items from the agora, like terracotta vases, coins, pottery, and more.

The third room highlights the religious, with items found in the excavated sanctuaries. Burial findings make up the fourth room, where visitors can learn about the funerary and cremation rites in ancient Greece. And, finally, the fifth room introduces visitors to Alexander the Great, one of the most important Greek rulers, and his palace.

7. Edessa Gliding Club

For a really unique experience, stop at the Edessa Gliding Club to watch gliders or unpowered planes, soar through the air on the natural currents. Guests can also arrange flights by contacting the Edessa Gliding Club . Flights take place from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October, on Sundays only.

8. Folklore Museum of Giannitsa

The folklore museum is designed to promote the local traditions and history of the 19th and 20th century Macedonians who lived in the Giannitsa Lake district. It showcases artefacts like cauldrons and baking trays, adzes, and traditional clothing (both everyday wear and formalwear). The museum also highlights the late 19th/early 20th century wars in Macedonia, and the guerilla fighters who lived in this area.

9. Wetland of Vrita and Vegoritida Lake

Visit the protected conservation area of Vrita, which is only 6km away from the city in the Kaimaktsalan mountain region. The wetlands are one of the best places to view rare birds. You’ll see endangered species like the little bittern and ferruginous duck, and other birds like swans and moorhens. Nearby Vegoritida Lake is the second biggest lake in Greece. It’s also part of the NATURA 2000 network due to plethora of bird and fish species. You can also go kayaking, kite surfing, or sailing, or visit some of the lakeside villages.

Where to Eat in Pella

Cafe Restaurant Evora

We enjoyed a tasty breakfast with homemade marmalades and pancakes with fresh fruit at the cafe – restaurant Evora in the village of Panagitsa. The cafe has stunning views over Veggoritida lake. After breakfast, we went for a small hike nearby to see some beautiful waterfalls.

Restaurant Kalyves

In the center of Aghios Athanasios village, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the family-owned restaurant Kalyves. Our menu included fresh salad, wild boar with wild porcini mushrooms and kritharoto with wild mushrooms.

Restaurant Kokkino Piperi

After relaxing at the Pozar baths we headed to the nearby Kokkino Piperi restaurant where we enjoyed a traditional meal with local products.

Katarraktes restaurant in Edessa

If you are looking for a great place to eat near the Edessa waterfalls, the Katarraktes restaurant is a great option. The restaurant serves traditional recipes with a modern twist.

Glykanisos restaurant

Glykanisos is located in the center of Giannitsa and serves fresh seafood, fish and other traditional dishes.

Where to stay in Pella

Hagiati Guesthouse – Edessa

Hagiati Guesthouse is one of the most authentic Macedonian guesthouses in Greece. There are just seven rooms in this charming boutique hotel, all decorated with natural materials and traditional furnishings, and complemented with modern facilities.

Leventis Art Suites – Panagitsa

The Leventis Art Suites are located at the foot of Mount Voras, near the ski escort and the Pozar thermal baths. All suites are intricately decorated with frescoes, hand-painted ceilings, rich brocades, and more. They are furnished with antiques, period lights, traditional carpets and fabrics, and plenty of art.

In addition to the hotel’s architecture and sculptures, they also have a private museum with over 2,000 exhibits, including a huge selection of cameras. If you cannot stay here, you should go for a coffee simply to admire the works of art.

How to get to the area of Pella, Greece

The closest big city with an international airport is Thessaloniki (around 40 km depending on where you are going).

The best way to explore the area is to rent a car. Alternatively, you can get to some of the above-mentioned destinations for example Edessa by public bus (ktel). For more information check their website here (unfortunately, only in Greek)

Pella is a unique region of Greece, one far removed from the bustling city of Athens or the hypnotic Greek Islands, but it is as ancient as the ground itself and a trip here will introduce you to the wonders of the traditional Macedonian lifestyle as well as the rich history and wide experiences in the northern Greek regions.

Archaeological Site at Pella

We had the entire place to ourselves, on a scorching hot day in September (38 degrees). This was entirely COVID-driven - there were very few tourists in the area at all - and we felt for the staff who have very little to do at present.

Other visitors seem to have been a bit underwhelmed by what's left of Pella, and of course it may have been largely because we were the only people there, but we both found it incredibly atmospheric. We liked the fact that it hasn't been pruned and tweaked into a theme park, and wandering along the ancient pathways with their weeds and dust just seemed to enhance the other-wordliness of the place. The Agora is particularly interesting, and of course the House of Dyonisus with it's amazing pebble mosaics in situ is a real highlight.

We didn't visit the Museum until afterwards (it was getting even hotter so we were glad to get inside), but that didn't spoil our experience - this is a very special place, and we feel privileged to have seen it in its deserted beauty. Wishing for a better season in 2021.

Watch the video: Gewaltexzess in Mazedonien. Journal (January 2022).