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Ippodromiou Square

The shape of Ippodromiou Square is reminiscent of the ancient hippodrome, which was located here.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1912 - )

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1912)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

    390 AD The year of the massacre. Τhe hippodrome operated until the 6th century AD.

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

    The hippodrome was built at the beginning of the 4th century AD.

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

Although it is called a square, the street and buildings delineate an area that does not resemble a square at all. This shape, however, was not accidental, because at this point was the ancient hippodrome.  Located between the palace of Galerius and the eastern walls, it reached as far as Egnatia Street. It covered an area of ​​30,000sq.m., was about 450m long. and 95m. wide, and had a capacity of 15,000 people. At the center of the present location was the evrippos, which was the low wall in the centre of the track and was decorated with statues, water tanks, obelisks and other decoration. The imperial balcony was probably on the west side and adjacent to the palace. Remains of the hippodrome are scattered in the basements of nearby buildings. Apart from the hippodrome, the neighbourhood of Ippodromiou Square has a rich folk history from recent centuries.

What I can't see

The hippodrome operated until the 6th century AD. In 390 AD, the emperor Theodosius slaughtered 7,000 Thessalonians because an enraged mob had killed his friend Wuterich, the leader of a highly unpopular mercenary garrison, after he took actions that angered the local populace. There was also long-accumulating rage against the emperor himself, who had imposed exhausting taxes because of the many wars, so the actions of his friend triggered an explosion of violence. When Theodosius gave the order for the slaughter of the Thessalonians he was in Italy, and was afterwards severely criticized by Archbishop of Mediolana (modern-day Milan). He realized that he gave the order in the heat of the moment and tried to withdraw it, but his message was not received in time because of the long distance it had to travel. As a result, Theodosius decreed that one month must pass between future death sentences and executions. He also built an orphanage for the children of the victims, at the site where the church of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos (i.e. orphan in Greek) was built about 1000 years later. Theodosius was a fanatic Christian who destroyed many Greek antiquities, abolished the Olympic Games and persecuted those who were considered “heretics”.


Zafeiris Ch. (1997), Θεσσαλονίκης Εγκόλπιον, ιστορία, πολιτισμός, η πόλη σήμερα, γεύσεις, μουσεία, μνημεία, διαδρομές, [Thessaloniki Handbook, history, culture, the city today, flavours, museums, routes], Athens: Exantas


Ζafeiris Ch., (2014), Θεσσαλονίκη, η παρουσία των απόντων, η κληρονομιά Ρωμαίων, Μουσουλμάνων, Εβραίων, Ντονμέδων, Φράγκων, Αρμενίων και Σλάβων, [Thessaloniki, the presense of the absent, the heritage of Romans, Muslims, Jews, Doenme, Franks, Armenians and Slavs], Thessaloniki: Epikentro


Misailidou Despotidou V., (2012), Θεσσαλονίκη, κρυμμένη πόλη, αρχαιότητες διατηρημένες σε υπόγεια, [Thessaloniki, hidden city, antiquities preserved in basements] Ministry of Education and Religions, Ministry of Culture and Sports, General Secretariat of Culture


Tomanas Κ., (1997), Οι πλατείες της Θεσσαλονίκης μέχρι το 1944, [The squares of Thessaloniki until 1944], Thessaloniki: Nisides