More than 300,000 archaeological artifacts were discovered during the construction of the Thessaloniki metro system, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said at a press conference on Wednesday. Many of them will be exhibited at several metro stations, turning them also to museums.
She added that a large selection of these artifacts will be displayed in two separate museums that will be built in the city.
The objects were brought to the surface during works at 6 of the 12 basic stations in Thessaloniki’s metro project: Aghia Sofia, Venizelou, Syntrivani, Panepistimio, Fleming and Amaxostasio Plakas.
The archaeological works, which according to Mendoni cost 169 million euros, revealed findings dating back to Hellenistic times and they reflect the development of the city’s urban fabric, she added.
Among the findings are a rare 6th century marble plaza, a Venus statue, but also “secret diamonds” of Early Christianity.
“All the findings are valuable, but not all are exhibitable,” the Culture minister pointed out.
Museums at Metro Stations
Dozens of findings will be exhibited at the metro stations of Venizelos, Agia Sofia, Sintrivani/Fleming and Democracy Square, Transportation Minister Costas Karamanlis said at the same briefing.
The largest archaeological site will be at Venizelos station.
Another museum will be created in front of the Library of Thessaloniki University, a space of 5,000 sq.m. There, the section of the 77-meter-long decumanus, a Roman east–west-oriented road, detached from the Agia Sofia station will be placed.
The work on the removal of the antiquities was completed on July 31, 2022, their relocation is expected to begin within the first quarter of 2023.
The removals of the artifacts had triggered outrage in a large part of the local community.
The government hopes that the metro in Thessaloniki still start operating in 2023.