Tombs of Lefkadia

Thessaloniki Travel Blog

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Our first stop was the Royal Tombs at Vergina. This is supposedly the tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. The entire museum is set up on this presumption. Whether it actually was his tomb however is not certain. The Greeks are determined to call it the tomb of Philip II, because it proves that Macedonia was a Greek area, and that the Greeks are the rightful owners to the name ‘Macedonia’. They have been fighting over the name ‘Macedonia’ with the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. This is an oversimplified explanation of a fraction of the ‘Macedonian Name Conflict’, which I don’t know much about, so I wont attempt to explain.

The tombs have been incorporated into a museum, which is built under an artificial tumulus, for an authentic experience. You enter the underground tomb through a long dromos path. The inside is completely dark, except for the dimly lit exhibits. Although the tomb is artificial, it really feels like you’ve entered an ancient tomb, dimly lit by torches or something equally as spooky. It was a little spooky. The main hall held beautifully displayed cases of the finds from the graves, including what was left from a funeral pyre, and a set of silverware left in the tomb for the magnificent banquets that were sure to be consumed in the afterlife.

In rooms off of the main hall were the actual tombs. Only the facades were visible. They were displayed in the same eerie, dark setting as the rest of the museum. It had a spooky but incredibly appropriate ambience. The tomb facades subscribe to the orders of typical Greek temples. They are covered in plaster, and some paint survives, which is very uncommon in the antiquities. There are even examples of Hellenistic painting from this site, which is incredibly rare. The museum had the best ambience of any museum I’ve ever been too. The entire site was an incredible experience. I probably say that about everything, but this was really an unusual and captivating exhibit.

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