The Royal Palace of Philip II in Aiges, one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites, is slated to open to the public later this year following major restoration, according to an announcement by the Greek Culture Ministry.
Constructed in the mid-4th century BC, the palace stands as one of Classical Greece’s most important structures. Its purpose was to merge the Agora, the gathering place for Macedonian citizens, with the aura of royal authority and influence. It was on the palace’s peristyle that Alexander the Great was declared the Macedonian king in the autumn of 336 BC, marking the beginning of his army’s march to the East.
Though the Romans destroyed the palace in 148 BC, it has been meticulously restored through a substantial project that commenced in 2007.
Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni recently visited the site and engaged with the renovation supervisors to determine the optimal solutions to make the 7.4-acre area accessible and visitor-friendly by the end of the year.
“The Aiges project’s objective has been the systematic restoration and enhancement of this extensive archaeological site, transforming it into an archaeological park, which will provide modern, high-quality infrastructure and services to allow visitors to gain a comprehensive understanding and experience of the history of Aiges, Macedonia and its rulers,” Mendoni said.
The restoration of the Royal Palace of Philip II, slated for completion in December, covers nearly 136 acres including the adjacent necropolis and the Temenids burial cluster, which became accessible to the public in 2021. These elements, alongside the Royal Tombs museum, the ancient theater, the church of Agios Demetrios, and the central museum inaugurated by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis last year, collectively form the polycentric museum of Aigai.
The Palace of Aiges, considered innovative for its time, evolved into a model and archetype that influenced the design of public architecture in both the East and the West for many centuries.
Soon, visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Aigai will be able to fully appreciate what Wolfram Hoepfner, a distinguished scholar of ancient Greek architecture, dubbed “Macedonia’s Parthenon.” A 30-meter-long section of the upper floor of the central part of the palace façade, which couldn’t be restored due to the loss of ancient material, is on display in the central multiform museum building.
The restoration project for the Aigai Palace was backed by a budget of 20,000,000 euros. It primarily concentrated on restoring the grand peristyle, propylon, arcades of its façade, and the preservation of the mosaics in the men’s rooms, where Macedonian kings hosted banquets.
Visitors will have the opportunity to explore various chambers and spaces within the palace, including the grand peristyle, throne room, banquet halls, and the royal family’s private quarters. Additionally, they will be able to admire the palace’s remarkable mosaics and other art.