Excavations while constructing the Thessaloniki metro have brought to light 300.000 findings and subsequently the largest urban archaeological research has been carried out not only in the city, but in the entire country. This was pointed out by the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni during a joint press conference with the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Konstantinos-Achilleas Karamanlis.

Archaeological work, which according to Ms Mendoni has so far cost 169 million euros, brought to the surface findings dating back to Hellenistic times and reflecting the timeless evolution of urban planning in the city’s structure and part of them will be exhibited in two museums in Thessaloniki. “All the findings are valuable, but not all of them can be exhibited,” she pointed out.

The Minister of Culture and Sports announced that antiquities were found in the following stations among the 13 of the Thessaloniki metro’s main line: “Agia Sophia”, “Venizelou”, “The Syntrivani” (“Fountain”), the so-called Fountain Cross Over, the University, the “Fleming” station and the Pylaia Depot.

Particularly regarding the Venizelos station, Ms. Mendoni noted that “the largest internationally archaeological site has been created here as part of a technical project. Nowhere else do we have such an archaeological site”, while she added that ” work on the temporary removal of the antiquities made it possible to uncover more from previous historical periods which otherwise could not be studied to such an extent. Their discovery and study confirmed written sources about disasters suffered by the city”, she said. Among other things, she announced that the repositioning of the antiquities at the Venizelos station is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2023.

The two museums

During the press conference, the Minister of Culture and Sports announced that two museum spaces will be created, one at the Crossover, situated in front of the Library building of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, between the “Syntrivani” and “University” stations, and one at the A3 building of the former Pavlos Melas army camp, within the Metropolitan Park.

Regarding the museum space that will be built at the Crossover,  she said that  it will have a length of 77m, a width of 10m and a space capacity of 5000 sq.m., granted to the Ministry of Culture and Sports by the Attiko Metro company along with the building shell. According to Ms. Mendoni, not just the display cases of antiquities can be visited in this museum but the conservation workshops and storage rooms as well. Also installed there will be the 77 meters long section of the Decumanus which was detached from the “Agia Sophia” station. Asked about the museum’s construction schedule, the Minister said that as soon as the shell of this large building is delivered, the studies will proceed and that up to six years are required for its completion.

Referring to the museum to be constructed in building A3 of the former army camp of Pavlos Melas, Ms Mendoni said that it will “narrate” the city’s history and in it antiquities will be exhibited in the traditional way, either individually or in showcases. She pointed out that the museological study has been approved by the Central Council of Museums and the goal is for the project of restoring the building and creating the museum to be included in the 2021-2027 NSRF.