The 2,400-Year-Old Palace Where Alexander the Great Was Crowned Reopens in Greece

A coronation site for one of the world’s greatest military leaders is open again.

On Sunday, the Palace of Aigai in Vergina, Greece, where Alexander the Great was crowned King of Macedonia around 2,400 years ago, started welcoming back guests. The historic property, formally known as the Royal Metropolis of the Macedonians, spans approximately 161,500 square feet, according to the Greek Cultural Ministry. It was mostly built by the young king’s father, Philip II of Macedonia, in the 4th century BCE and was once the largest building in the country.

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It took the Greek government 16 years of work, help from the European Union, and more than $21.9 million to restore the palace, the country’s cultural ministry said. These efforts included excavation of the site, documentation, and the conservation of discovered artifacts. Up to 15,000 square feet of mosaics were restored, along with the marble flooring and ancient columns. The team was careful to preserve the site’s classic appearance, though.

Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated the revamped palace on Friday, where he was photographed alongside the towering columns and colorful stone floors. “It is the place where Alexander the Great was crowned king, a short while after his father’s assassination, to start his glorious campaign,” Mitsotakis told CNN

When Alexander succeeded his father on the throne in 336 B.C., at age 20, he led military campaigns that saw him conquer a giant area stretching from modern-day Greece to Egypt, Iran, northern India, and central Asia. His reign also set the foundation for the Greek influence in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for the preceding 1,000 years. Alexander’s expansive empire marked what historians call the Hellenistic period, which lasted from his death to the rise of the Roman Empire. The Palace of Aigai was destroyed by the Romans in 148 BCE.

“The importance of such monuments transcends local boundaries, becoming property of all humanity,” adds Mitsotakis. “And we as the custodians of this precious cultural heritage, we must protect it, highlight it, promote it, and at the same time expand the horizons revealed by each new facet.” 

It is currently unclear how tours of the site can now be booked.


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