Friday, September 21, 2007

The Royal Tombs of Vergina...and Gyros

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On Wednesday, we headed to Vergina, which is about an hour west of Thessaloniki, near Veria (where St Paul once was).

Vergina was a capital of ancient Macedonia and is famous now for the royal tombs buried underneath a large man-made mound. These are the tombs of Philip II, Alexander the Great’s father, and Alexander IV, Alexander the Great’s son.

The treasures found in the tombs are amazing – exquisite gold wreaths and silver utensils, all looking like they were made yesterday. The museum is built around the tombs – all underground. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any photos inside.

As for the tombs, they look like small stone houses (except the stones are enormous and about a yard thick). They are sealed with great big marble doors, which have still never been opened. The excavators entered the tombs by removing one stone from the roof and climbing in.

Visitors are allowed to approach the front of the tomb within about 10 feet. You can see the columns around the huge marble door and the frescoes above the door.

Anyway, that was the excitement for Wednesday.

The top photo has the mound in the background. Most of the tombs, and the museum, are under there.

The second and third photos are taken in front of the tomb of Philip II’s mother, Alexander the Great’s grandmother, Queen Eurydice. This tomb is located just outside the other tombs.

On Thursday, it was rainy and overcast, so we took it easy. We went to Carrefour, which is sort of our Walmart, and stocked up on groceries, etc. On the way back, we went to the best (in my opinion) gyro place in Thessaloniki, Prassas. The bottom photo was taken there.

For a couple more photos, click here.

Today, Friday, the plan is to drive over to Philippi, which was home to the first Christian community in Europe (see St Paul’s letter to the Philippians) and Kavala, which was ancient Neapolis (where St Paul first landed in Europe).

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