- 24 August 2022
Reasons to visit the unmissable museum of the Macedonian Royal Tombs in Vergina
Vergina is a small town in the Central Macedonia region of Greece and is located about 80 kilometers from Thessaloniki. Why is Vergina famous? Because in the past it was the capital of Ancient Macedonia. Why visit Vergina? Because today it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece protected by Unesco.
In particular, Vergina became known as a tourist tour starting in 1977 when the tomb of Philip II, the father of the legendary Alexander the Great, was discovered. The mound containing the tomb of Philip II is incorporated into a modern underground museum which is absolutely worth a visit because all the treasures, found from the excavation of the tombs, are exhibited there.
Practical information on how to reach the Royal Tombs of Vergina
The museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai (the ancient name of the Macedonian capital) is located in the village of Vergina and is easily accessible along the highway that connects Thessaloniki to the city of Veria. The museum was inaugurated in 1997, which is 20 years after the discovery of the tomb of Philip II.
Once in Vergina, you can follow the directions for the royal tombs which will lead you directly to a large parking lot located a few hundred meters from the archaeological site. The street on which the entrance to the museum gives access is pedestrian and there is no shortage of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops with the symbols of Macedonia.
The cost to enter the archaeological park containing the site with the royal tombs is 12 Euros for a full ticket and 6 Euros for a reduced one (prices updated to August 2022).
Once you enter the park, you will find a hill in front of you and just below this hill there is the magnificent museum. In fact, in the past, the tombs were placed underground and then filled with earth to form a hill, perhaps so as not to be easily discovered. You just have to enter the mound through a tunnel and suddenly you will find yourself immersed in the past.
What you can see inside the museum: from the tombs to the historical remains of ancient Macedonia
The great Vergina mound is impressive: it measures 110 meters in diameter by 12 meters high and can be considered the largest burial site in mainland Greece. It was certainly a work that in the past took a long time to build (in fact, we are talking about the period before the middle of the third century BC).
The museum was designed to protect ancient artifacts by maintaining the temperature and humidity conditions necessary for their conservation. Modern technology allows to slow down the natural decay process of the various finds, which are restored in order to be preserved for “eternity”.
Therefore, there are many historical artifacts found inside the tombs and objects of everyday use of past times, such as vases, amphorae, pots and utensils. At the same time, you can admire the murals with the original paintings of everyday life scenes.
The tomb of Philip II and the golden oak crown are something unique
One of the main exhibits of the museum is undoubtedly the Tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. His son Alexander the Great took care of the funeral in 336 BC and buried his father in Vergina in an underground tomb, with a rich funeral outfit. It was probably one of the most lavish funeral ceremonies in Greek history.
The concept of “Macedonian tomb” is nothing more than an intertwining between a palace and a temple. On the facade of the tomb the two kings, father and son, are depicted in a hunting scene. The royal tomb of Philip II remained untouched until its discovery in the modern era.
Another prominent element, which will leave you speechless, is undoubtedly the golden urn that contained the bones of Philip II and the crown worn when he died. The golden oak crown is the heaviest and most impressive crown that has survived from Greek antiquity. It is made up of 313 leaves and 68 acorns and weighs 714 grams.
Vergina is an archaeological site that offers much more to see
Vergina, also known by the ancient name of Aigai, has become known over the years mainly thanks to the discovery of the tomb of Philip II, but the area offers a rich archaeological site. In fact, Aigai was a city made up of several villages that made up an urban agglomeration. The discovery of royal tombs testifies that the Aigai necropolis was very prosperous in the past. It is from here that Philip II and Alexander the Great left to change the history of Greece and the world.
The necropolis extends both underground and externally with remains of monuments. The palace of Aigai, which was built during the reign of Philip II, is among the most significant buildings in classical Greece. Just think that it was three times larger than the Parthenon and was visible from the entire Macedonia. The Aigai palace was certainly a unique landmark and a symbol of beauty and power.
If you are a fan of Greek history, Vergina is a must-see!
For more information about the royal tombs or the Vergina area, you can consult the official website: https://www.aigai.gr/en
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