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Odeion of Thessaloniki

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The Odeion lies in the middle of the east wing of the imperial-era forum in Thessaloniki, and is enclosed by Philippou St. (south), Olympou St. (north), Agnostou Stratiotou St. (east-pedestrianised) and Makedonikis Amynis St. (west).

AGORA (FORUM ROMANUM)

For three centuries, the agora or forum was the administrative centre of the capital city. It was designed as a unified complex on a site where, in the 1st c. BC, there had been a few private houses and scattered temporary workshop installations. In the 1st c. AD a first agora began to be built in the area. A large, rectangular hall in the middle of the east wing served the needs of the bouleuterion (council-house). However, the organisation of the forum complex, in the form in which it has come to light, began around the middle of the 2nd c. AD and is obviously linked to the love of Hadrian and his successors for the achievements of the Greek spirit on the one hand, and to the drastic rise in the population of the city and the pressing need for a larger administrative centre on the other.

This magnificent complex was incorporated into a long-term programme which was completed in the first decades of the 3rd c. AD. In the latter half of the same century certain buildings, such as the bouleuterion, were modified to serve new needs. The forum of Thessaloniki, in an open U-shape, faced towards the cooler north, with its main entrance from the old part of the city. On the three wings were double stoai of Corinthian columns. In the east wing were the halls of the public services.

On the north side of the east wing, a building with three rectangular niches on its east side has been revealed. Although it has not come to light in its entirety, as it extended under Olympus St., comparison with the corresponding building in the same location in the forum of Philippi has allowed a full reconstruction of its ground plan. The building probably served a religious function, connected to the Capitoline Triad and, above all, Juno Moneta.

This interpretation is supported by the discovery of four copper-smelting kilns. In one of them, a unique find, consisting of dozens of fragments of clay moulds for casting coin blanks, served to identify the area as the city mint.

Later, in the 2nd c. AD, it was decided to build an odeion on the site of the existing rectangular bouleuterion of the 1st c. BC. The odeion was expanded after the mid-3rd c. AD. In around the mid-4th c. AD it was planned to expand the odeion and turn it into a theatre, although this phase was not completed. An important building connected to the administrative function of the forum complex was the southernmost hall, whose north wall contained niches for wooden shelving on which papyrus documents were stored. It was, in other words, a city archive. The double stoa of the south wing is founded on an imposing cryptoportico (a semi-subterranean covered gallery), a cunning architectural solution allowing access to the next-lowest level of the city. There is found a row of shops, accessed from a narrow, marble-paved commercial street.

Briefly, the area was used as follows:

The area of the agora was first used after the second half of the 3rd c. BC. Pottery and terracotta figurine workshops were installed there, taking advantage of the natural, pure red earth. Clay pits were dug and quickly sealed with debris.

The first private houses appeared in around the 2nd c. BC. This phase lasted until 1st c. AD. To this phase are dated the baths, which were destroyed in the reign of Vespasian.

Towards the end of the 1st c. AD a public building complex arose, with a lifespan lasting into the middle of the 2nd c. AD. That was when the first semicircular odeion was erected in the east wing, with a row of shops to the southeast, outside the forum.

After the mid-3rd c. AD the existing odeion was enlarged to serve the new needs of the city. Around the mid-4th c. AD there was an attempt to turn the odeion into a theatre.

Around the mid-5th c. AD all the areas appear to have been abandoned and reused for secondary workshop functions, with renewed digging of large clay pits. Only the shops south of the cryptoportico retained their original use.

After the 5th c. AD, at a date difficult to determine but at least until the 10th century, the odeion was turned into a rainwater drainage funnel. The rainwater ran along a wide, rectangular duct into the cryptoportico, which had been transformed into a cistern, with the necessary modifications to make it clean and waterproof. Small scattered water tanks and cisterns were built around the area.

The shops south of the cryptoportico remained in partial use until the 13th or 14th c. AD.

 

ODEION

In the 2nd c. AD, it was decided to build an odeion on the site of the existing rectangular bouleuterion of the 1st c. BC. The odeion was expanded after the mid-3rd c. AD. The earliest phase of the odeion was excavated when the paving of the orchestra was removed for conservation. A test trench in the orchestra brought the 2nd-century remains to light.

The fact that during the 3rd c. AD the central rectangular hall of the east wing was replaced by a new, larger odeion, also inscribed, on a site of predetermined dimensions, created a unique type of building. The depth available was set due the neighbouring buildings. The three rectangular rooms in the south part of the wing remained intact. Given the expansion of the façade and the impossibility of accessing the interior of the odeion from the sides of the cavea, the architect placed all the accesses, for both actors and audience, in the façade. The actors entered from the endmost doorways, the ones whose frames are still preserved, while the spectators used the intermediate doors. Thus one entered a long antechamber, directly under the floor of the stage, and then passed to right and left, to the staircases leading up to the single section of the cavea.

The relationship between stage and entrance antechamber, set on two successive levels, determines the typological peculiarity of the Thessaloniki odeion, as the stage floor was necessarily raised quite high. The architect also limited the height of the proscenium, which is built with alternating niches and openings, raising the floor of the orchestra just high enough for the actors to enter from the parascenia, which were located on either side under the ends of the cavea. For these two reasons, the podium of the cavea was raised very high, so that the spectators in the front rows of seats could see the whole of the stage.

This particularly high podium has led earlier researchers to conclude that the odeion was used as an arena. This theory, of course, is quite improbable due to the small size of the orchestra and indeed the whole building, which would make it almost impossible to use in this way. During the phase of the 3rd c. AD, the odeion was a roofed building with a capacity of 300 people. In around the 4th c. AD it was planned to expand the odeion and turn it into a theatre. An additional cavea, approximately 15 m wide, was built on the site of private houses to the east, whose foundations were incorporated into the cavea substructure. For the stage of the new theatre building, part of the internal gallery was sacrificed and the three main audience entrances were sealed. To allow public access to the theatre, two wide staircases leading to a central section were built. However, there are strong stratigraphical indications that this phase was never completed.

The odeion has been conserved and partially restored, and is used for cultural events in keeping with the character of the monument.

The odeion was inaugurated on 27 June 1997 and has since hosted many plays, concerts, oral and dance events. It is used each summer (May-September) for performances by various public and private bodies (Municipality of Thessaloniki, Aristotle University, University of Macedonia, Metropolitan See of Thessaloniki, National Theatre of Northern Greece) and selected private artists.

The cryptoportico of the forum is also used for exhibitions and art events.
Giorgos Velenis and Polyxeni Adam-Veleni
Architects, Archaeologists

Odeion of Thessaloniki. Sightseeing tour organised by students.

Published 20 May, 2015.

In 30 March 2015, 2nd grade students of the 4th Gymnasium of Neapoli, Thessaloniki organised a sightseeing tour for other students in the archaeological site of Odeion of Thessaloniki.

Monument Name

Odeion of Thessaloniki

Category

Odeion

Brief Description

A roofed building (in antiquity), with a capacity of 300 people during the phase of the 3rd c. AD. Incorporated into the middle of the east wing of the imperial-era forum of Thessaloniki.

Images - Plans

See Photo Gallery.

Documentation - Bibliography

1st period of work (1962-1973)

Χρονικά

Χ. Ι. Μακαρόνας, Μακεδονικά 2, 1941-52, Αρχαιολογικά χρονικά, 593-94.

Φ. Παπαδοπούλου, ΑΔ 18, 1963, Χρον. Β2, 195-199, pl. 235-239; ΑΔ 19, 1964, Χρον. Β3, 329-331, pl. 373-374.

Φ. Πέτσα ΑΔ 22 (1967), Χρον. Β2, 379-387, pl. 288-295; ΑΑΑ 1968, 2, 156-161.

Φ. Πέτσας, Μακεδονικά 9, 1969, 149-150, pl. 38-47; ΑΔ 24, (1969), Χρον. Β2, 294-295.

Χ. Μπακιρτζή, ΑΕ 1970, 23-26.

Α. Βαβρίτσα, ΑΔ 25 (1970), Χρον. Β2, 361-362, pl. 308; ΑΔ 26 (1971), Χρον. Β2, 364-366, pl. 350-353; ΑΔ 27 (1972), Χρον. Β2, 504, pl. 436-439.

Φ. Πέτσα, Μακεδονικά 14 (1974), Χρονικά Αρχαιολογικά, 352-358, fig. 18, pl. 50-51.

Μελέτες

Στ. Πελεκανίδη, Άγαλμα γυναικός της υστερινής αρχαιότητας από τη Θεσσαλονίκη, BCH 73, 1949, 294-305 pl. ΧΙΙ-ΧΙΙΙ.

Χ. Μπακιρτζή, «Περί του συγκροτήματος της αγοράς Θεσσαλονίκης», Αρχαία Μακεδονία ΙΙ, Διεθνές Συμπόσιο, Αύγουστος 1973, 257-269, fig. 1-4, pl. 1-11.

Ch. Bakirtzis, Actes du Xe Congrès International d’ Archéologie Chrétienne, II (1984) 13.

Θ. Στεφανίδου-Τιβερίου, «Τα αγάλματα των Μουσών από το ωδείο Θεσσαλονίκης» Εγνατία 2 (1990), 73-122.

Κατάλογος Α. Παπαδοπούλου, Γ. Βελένης, Έκθεση σχεδίων φοιτητών της Αρχιτεκτονικής, Κατάλογος της Έκθεσης, Θεσσαλονίκη 1990.

2nd period of work (1989-2009)

Χρονικά

Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, ΑΔ 45 (1990), Χρον. Β2, 301-302; ΑΔ 46 (1991), Χρον. Β2, 275; ΑΔ 47 (1992), Χρον. Β2, 363; ΑΔ 48 (1993), Χρον. Β2, 321 and 356; ΑΔ 49 (1994), Χρον. Β2, 433, 465-466; ΑΔ 50 (1995), Χρον. Β2 ,451-453 and 493-494; ΑΔ 51 (1996), Χρον. Β2, 423-4 and 465-6; ΑΔ 52 (1997), Χρον. Β2,631-3 and 662-3; ΑΔ 53 (1998), Χρον. Β2, 549-554 and 596-7

Πρακτικά Διημερίδας Π. Αδάμ Βελένη (ed.), Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης 1, Πρακτικά διημερίδας για τις δεκαετείς εργασίες στον χώρο (1989-1999), Θεσσαλονίκη 2000.

Studies

1. Γ. Βελένης, Ι. Βοκοτοπούλου – Δ. Κυριάκου – Ζ. Αλ Σααγιάχ, «Πρόγραμμα Αρχαίας Αγοράς Θεσσαλονίκης», Το Αρχαιολογικό Έργο στη Μακεδονία και Θράκη (henceforth ΑΕΜΘ) 5, 1991, 247-256.

2. Ι. Βοκοτοπούλου, Π. Αδάμ-Βελένη, «Εργασίες στη Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά της Θεσσαλονίκης», ΑΕΜΘ 7, 1993, 321-328.

3. Γ. Βελένης, Π. Αδάμ-Βελένη, «Αναστηλωτικές και ανασκαφικές εργασίες στη Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά της Θεσσαλονίκης κατά το 1994», ΑΕΜΘ 8, 1994, 159-167.

4. Γ. Βελένης, «Συμπραγματευόμενοι σε επιγραφή της Θεσσαλονίκης», Τεκμήρια 2, 15-21.

5. Γ. Βελένης, «Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», ΑΑΑ XXIII-XXVIII, 1990-1995, 129-142.

6. Π. Αδάμ-Βελένη, «Τραπεζοφόρο από την Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», ΑΑΑ XXIII-XXVIII, 1990-1995, 155-162.

7. Π. Γεωργάκη, «Αγγεία της κατηγορίας τύπου «Δυτικής Κλιτύος» από την Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», ΑΑΑ XXIII-XXVIII, 1990-1995, 211-222.

8. Αικ. Μπόλη, Τροχήλατοι λύχνοι από την Αρχαία Αγορά της Θεσσαλονίκης, ΑΑΑ XXIII-XXVIII, 1990-1995, 235-254.

9. Γ. Βελένη, «Νομισματοκοπείο στην Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», Χαρακτήρ, Αφιέρωμα στη Μάντω Οικονομίδου, Αθήνα 1996, 49-60.

10. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Π. Γεωργάκη, Η. Ζωγράφου, Β. Καλάβρια, Κ. Μπόλη, Γ. Σκιαδαρέσης, «Αρχαία αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης: η στρωματογραφία και τα κινητά ευρήματα», ΑΕΜΘ 1996, 10Β, 501-531, Θεσσαλονίκη 1997.

11. Γ. Βελένης, «Επιγραφές από την αρχαία αγορά της Θεσσαλονίκης», Αρχαία Μακεδονία, Στ΄ Διεθνές Συμπόσιο, τόμος 2, 1317-1329, Θεσσαλονίκη 1998.

12. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, «Βαλανείο προγενέστερο της αρχαίας αγοράς Θεσσαλονίκης», ΑΕΜΘ 11, 1997, 351-364, Θεσσαλονίκη 1999.

13. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, «Η επανάχρηση του ωδείου και της κρυπτής στοάς της Αρχαίας Αγοράς Θεσσαλονίκης», ΑΕΜΘ 11, 1997, 345-350, Θεσσαλονίκη 1999.

14. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Π. Γεωργάκη, Β. Καλάβρια, Αικ. Μπόλη, «Κλειστά χρονολογημένα σύνολα από την Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», Πρακτικά Ε΄ Επιστημονικής Συνάντησης για την Ελληνιστική Κεραμική, Χανιά 1997, Αθήνα 2000, 275-298.

15. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Η. Ζωγράφου, Β. Καλάβρια, Αικ. Μαυρομιχάλη, Αικ. Μπόλη, «Η οικοσκευή του βαλανείου της Αρχαίας Αγοράς» Θεσσαλονίκης, ΑΕΜΘ 12, 1998, 85-102, Θεσσαλονίκη 2000.

16. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Π. Γεωργάκη, Η. Ζωγράφου, «Σκύφοι και πινάκια από την αρχαία αγορά της Θεσσαλονίκης», Έκτη Διεθνής Συνάντηση για την ελληνιστική Κεραμική, Βόλος 2000, ……

17. Η. Ζωγράφου, Η Μητέρα των Θεών στη Θεσσαλονίκη, Θεσσαλονικέων πόλις, β΄περίοδος, vol. 3, September 2000, 81-86.

18. Aικ. Μαυρομιχάλη, «Γυάλινα αγγεία από την Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», Διεθνές Συνέδριο για το Γυαλί, Ρόδος 2001 (τα πρακτικά τυπώνονται).

19. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Π. Γεωργάκη, Η. Ζωγράφου, «Ανάγλυφοι σκύφοι με αφηγηματικές παραστάσεις από την Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», Ζ΄ Επιστημονική Συνάντηση για την Ελληνιστική Κεραμική, Αίγιο 2005 (in press).

20. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη «Κρήνη στην Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης. Ένα «χαμένο» κτίσμα από την εποχή του Φ. Πέτσα», ΑΕΜΘ 18, 225-238.

21. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Δ. Καλλιγά, Η. Ζωγράφου, Ν. Χατζιδάκης, «Μουσειολογική – μουσειογραφική μελέτη έκθεσης Αρχαίας Αγοράς Θεσσαλονίκης» ΑΕΜΘ 19, 97-108.

22. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, «Λυχνάρια του 3ου αιώνα μ.Χ. από την Αρχαία Αγορά της Θεσσαλονίκης», Διεθνές Συνέδριο υστερορωμαϊκής κεραμικής, Θεσσαλονίκη Νοέμβριος 2007, (in press).

23. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, «Οστέινο εισιτήριο από την Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», Κέρμα, τιμητικός τόμος για τον Ι. Τουράτσογλου (in press).

24. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, «Ο Φώτης Πέτσας και η Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης», Συνέδριο στη μνήμη του Φ. Πέτσα, Οκτώβριος 2008, οργάνωση Εταιρεία Μακεδονικών Σπουδών, (in press).

Guides – Catalogues

1. Γ. Βελένης, Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης, οδηγός του χώρου, Θεσσαλονίκη 1997.

2. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Η Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης, in the collective volume Αρχαία Ελληνική Τεχνολογία, Κατάλογος της Έκθεσης, ed. Εταιρεία Μελέτης Αρχαίας Ελληνικής Τεχνολογίας και Τεχνικό Μουσείο Θεσσαλονίκης, Θεσσαλονίκη 1997.

3. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Κλ. Νικονάνου, Ε. Φουρλίγκα, Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης, οδηγός για παιδιά στα πλαίσια του εκπαιδευτικού προγράμματος «Αρχαιολογικοί Περίπατοι» της Πολιτιστικής Πρωτεύουσας της Ευρώπης Θεσσαλονίκη ΄97, Θεσσαλονίκη 1997.

4. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη, Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης, βιβλίο μαθητού στα πλαίσια του προγράμματος «Μελίνα», Θεσσαλονίκη 2000.

5. Π. Αδάμ Βελένη (with Χρ. Γκατζόλη, Ο. Σακαλή) Αρχαία Αγορά Θεσσαλονίκης, βιβλίο δασκάλου στα πλαίσια του προγράμματος «Μελίνα», Θεσσαλονίκη 2000.

Location

In the middle of the east wing of the imperial-era forum in Thessaloniki. It is now a designated archaeological site on the axis of Aristotelous St. at right angles to the sea. It is enclosed by Philippou St. (south), Olympou St. (north), Agnostou Stratiotou St. (east-pedestrianised) and Makedonikis Amynis St. (west).

Dating

1st phase of the odeion: mid-2nd c. AD. 2nd phase of the odeion: mid-3rd c. AD. 3rd phase: incomplete attempt to transform the odeion into a theatre, early 4th c. AD.

General Description of Monument

AGORA (FORUM ROMANUM) GENERAL INFORMATION

For three centuries, the agora or forum was the administrative centre of the capital city. It was designed as a unified complex on a site where, in the 1st c. BC, there had been a few private houses and scattered temporary workshop installations. In the 1st c. AD a first agora began to be built in the area. A large, rectangular hall in the middle of the east wing served the needs of the bouleuterion (council-house). However, the organisation of the forum complex, in the form in which it has come to light, began around the middle of the 2nd c. AD and is obviously linked to the love of Hadrian and his successors for the achievements of the Greek spirit on the one hand, and to the drastic rise in the population of the city and the pressing need for a larger administrative centre on the other. This magnificent complex was incorporated into a long-term programme which was completed in the first decades of the 3rd c. BC. In the latter half of the same century certain buildings, such as the bouleuterion, were modified to serve new needs. The forum of Thessaloniki, in an open U-shape, faced towards the cooler north, with its main entrance from the old part of the city. On the three wings were double stoai of Corinthian columns. In the east wing were the halls of the public services. On the north side of the east wing, a building with three rectangular niches on its east side has been revealed. Although it has not come to light in its entirety, as it extended under Olympus St., comparison with the corresponding building in the same location in the forum of Philippi has allowed a full reconstruction of its ground plan. The building probably served a religious function, connected to the Capitoline Triad and, above all, Juno Moneta. This interpretation is supported by the discovery of four copper-smelting kilns. In one of them, a unique find, consisting of dozens of fragments of clay moulds for casting coin blanks, served to identify the area as the city mint. Later, in the 2nd c. AD, it was decided to build an odeion on the site of the existing rectangular bouleuterion of the 1st c. BC. The odeion was expanded after the mid-3rd c. AD. In around the mid-4th c. AD it was planned to expand the odeion and turn it into a theatre, although this phase was not completed. An important building connected to the administrative function of the forum complex was the southernmost hall, whose north wall contained niches for wooden shelving on which papyrus documents were stored. It was, in other words, a city archive. The double stoa of the south wing is founded on an imposing cryptoportico (semi-subterranean covered gallery), a cunning architectural solution allowing access to the next-lowest level of the city. There is found a row of shops, accessed from a narrow, marble-paved commercial street. Briefly, the area was used as follows: 1. The area of the agora was first used after the second half of the 3rd c. BC. Pottery and terracotta figurine workshops were installed there, taking advantage of the natural, pure red earth. Clay pits were dug and quickly sealed with debris. 2. The first private houses appeared in around the 2nd c. BC. This phased lasted until 1 BC. To this phase are dated the baths, which were destroyed in the reign of Vespasian. 3. Towards the end of the 1st c. AD a public building complex arose, with a lifespan lasting into the middle of the 2nd c. AD. That was when the first semicircular odeion was erected in the east wing, with a row of shops to the southeast, outside the forum. 4. After the mid-3rd c. AD the existing odeion was enlarged to serve the new needs of the city. 5. Around the mid-4th c. AD there was an attempt to turn the odeion into a theatre. 6. Around the mid-5th c. AD all the areas appear to have been abandoned and reused for secondary workshop functions, with renewed digging of large clay pits. Only the shops south of the cryptoportico retained their original use. 7. After the 5th c. AD, at a date difficult to determine but at least until the 10th century, the odeion was turned into a rainwater drainage funnel. The rainwater ran along a wide, rectangular duct into the cryptoportico, which had been transformed into a cistern, with the necessary modifications to make it clean and waterproof. Small scattered water tanks and cisterns were built around the area. 8. The shops south of the cryptoportico remained in partial use until the 13th or 14th c. AD.

ODEION

In the 2nd c. AD, it was decided to build an odeion on the site of the existing rectangular bouleuterion of the 1st c. BC. The odeion was expanded after the mid-3rd c. AD. The earliest phase of the odeion was excavated when the paving of the orchestra was removed for conservation. A test trench in the orchestra brought the 2nd-century remains to light. The fact that during the 3rd c. AD the central rectangular hall of the east wing was replaced by a new, larger odeion, also inscribed, on a site of predetermined dimensions, created a unique type of building. The depth available was set due the neighbouring buildings. The three rectangular rooms in the south part of the wing remained intact. Given the expansion of the façade and the impossibility of accessing the interior of the odeion from the sides of the cavea, the architect placed all the accesses, for both actors and audience, in the façade. The actors entered from the endmost doorways, the ones whose frames are still preserved, while the spectators used the intermediate doors. Thus one entered a long antechamber, directly under the floor of the stage, and then passed to right and left, to the staircases leading up to the single section of the cavea. The relationship between stage and entrance antechamber, set on two successive levels, determines the typological peculiarity of the Thessaloniki odeion, as the stage floor was necessarily raised quite high. The architect also limited the height of the proscenium, which is built with alternating niches and openings, raising the floor of the orchestra just high enough for the actors to enter from the parascenia, which were located on either side under the ends of the cavea. For these two reasons, the podium of the cavea was raised quite high, so that the spectators in the front rows of seats could see the whole of the stage. This particularly high podium has led earlier researchers to the conclusion that the odeion was used as an arena. This theory, of course, is quite improbable due to the small size of the orchestra and indeed the whole building, which would make it almost impossible to use in this way. In around the 4th c. AD it was planned to expand the odeion and turn it into a theatre. An additional cavea, approximately 15 m wide, was built on the site of private houses to the east, whose foundations were incorporated into the cavea substructure. For the stage of the new theatre building, part of the internal gallery was sacrificed and the three main audience entrances were sealed. To allow public access to the theatre, two wide staircases leading to a central section were built. However, there are strong stratigraphical indications that this phase was never completed.

Current Situation

Conserved, partially reconstructed.

Excavations - Interventions

Α. Consolidation of the odeion, 1969-1973 (under the supervision of the then Ephor Andreas Vavritsas, without a study)

Β. Conservation and partial reconstruction of the monument, 1991-1997 (under the supervision of Prof. G. Velenis, in accordance with the study resulting from a research programme of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and approved by the Central Archaeological Council in 1996).

Permitted Uses

All uses in keeping with the character of the monument.

History of Modern Uses

The odeion was inaugurated on 27 June 1997 by the Camerata Chamber Orchestra of the Athens Concert Hall, conducted by Alexandros Myrat with Danae Karra as soloist. In 1997 (the year Thessaloniki was the European Capital of Culture), it hosted the official entries of Spain (with a performance of the Bacchae), Japan (Julius Caesar), Italy (The Thousand and One Nights starring Massimo Ranieri), and Israel. Since then, the 300-seat odeion (which can be expanded to 500 seats with the addition of two rows of movable seats in the upper section) has hosted many plays, concerts, and oral and dance events. It is used each summer (May-September) for performances by various public and private bodies (Municipality of Thessaloniki, Aristotle University, University of Macedonia, Metropolitan See of Thessaloniki, National Theatre of Northern Greece) and selected private artists. The cryptoportico of the forum is also used for exhibitions and arts events. The Cryptoportico was inaugurated in October 1996 with the concert “Logos Erotikos” by Notis Mavroudis, accompanied by poetry readings of Thessaloniki authors by Dinos Christianopoulos, who also selected the poems, Filareti Komninou and Lydia Fotopoulou. A full record of events is held both at the 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and in the personal archives of the scientific directors Giorgos and Polyxeni Veleni.

Further Information

As the odeion has lost its roof (which cannot be restored due to lack of data), it has also lost most of the acoustics it would have boasted in antiquity when it was fully operational. Thus its acoustics are inadequate and usually have to be boosted by artificial means. Furthermore, the level of the original stage, from above the brickwork niches to the upper part of the five marble doorways, has been lost. Thus today the orchestra level necessarily serves as a stage, and this, due to the great difference in height between it and the front row of seats, creates further problems with feedback which the stage manager has to solve in each case.

Intellectual Rights

Giorgos Velenis and Polyxeni Adam-Veleni.

Jurisdiction

16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Thessaloniki.

Latitude

40.637714°

Longitude

22.946062°

Theater attached documents