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Published: October 11th 2016
Day 18 - Sun. Oct. 9 - Port of call: Thessaloniki, Greece. Weather: Sunny with scattered clouds, temperatures of 75°F/24°C
This city was founded in 315 B.C. and is named after Alexander the Great’s stepsister. This area has played an important role throughout Greek history. It has been subjected to the outside rule of Romans, Byzantines, and the Ottoman Empire for centuries. The area is steeped in Greek mythology with Mount Olympus overlooking the Thermaic Gulf where the city lays.
Our early morning excursion took us 90 km northwest of the city to the archaeological site at Vergina, which is home to Aigai, the sacred city of the Macedonian Kings. It was here in 1977 that the tomb of Philip II, Alexander the Great’s father, was discovered and excavated by Manolis Andronikos. Under the cover of the earthen mound the archaeologists discovered four separate tombs, three of them untouched by grave robbers. One belonged to Philip II, another was dedicated to one of Philip’s seven wives and the third one probably was Alexander IV, Alexander the Great’s son, although archaeologists have been unable to positively affirm that. The identity of the individual in the looted
tomb remains a mystery.
From the outside the museum looks like a small hill or mound, while inside there is a modern museum that surrounds the tomb structures, which have been left in situ, and all of the artifacts uncovered in the tombs. It was an extremely rich visual experience to view the treasures that were buried in 336 B.C. Unfortunately there was no photography allowed in the museum so we have to rely on an excellent books filled with photos to supplement our memories.
Back at the ship we decided against exploring the city as the ship is scheduled to sail at 5:00 pm, so we spent the remainder of the afternoon reading, doing blog notes and attending a cooking demo.
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