Rotunda

The Rotunda in Thessaloniki is just as its name implies – a round structure. It is, however, a very old round structure, constructed as a temple for a late Roman Imperial Cult around the 3rd century AD. Sometime in the early Byzantine times, it was converted to a Church dedicated to Saint George. The interior was decorated in stunning coloured mosaics, now considered to be some of the best preserved late antique/early Byzantine mosaics in Greece.

In 1590, after Ottoman conquest it was converted to the Mosque of Suleyman Hortaji Effendi and a minaret added to one side. In 1912, the structure was reconsecrated as a Greek Orthodox church and is now a historic monument.

rotunda

The Rotunda has some rather interesting doors. This door faces the original processional entrance from the Arch of Galerius just to the south.

rotunda_east_door

Ninety degrees north around the circumference is another door with its portico. It is now the main entrance to the structure.

rotunda_west_door

Notice the Multi-faith symbols over the door showing its long history as a church and a mosque.

rotunda_over_door_symbols

The grand metal door stands open for visitors, reflecting the colours from the interior mosaics.

rotunda_open_door

On the door are decorative metal bosses and door handles.

rotunda_door_detail

Even the mosaics inside the Rotunda depict doorsways – or rather archways.

rotunda_mosaic

A close-up of a mosaic “doorway” shows details picked out in green.

Check out Norm’s blog for Thursday Doors. Just link up to join in.

Also more green in the mosaics in the form of a green bird for The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Green.

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16 comments

    • The Rotunda is very special. We visited in February and were lucky to have the place to ourselves. One of my first thought before entering and seeing the doors was your series, Thursday Doors. Have been waiting for an opportunity to show them!

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  1. Thanks for the peek at this gem of a place. The complexity and nuance of the pictorial Roman mosaics amazes me as does the outwardly simple architecture. Love this post Debi

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  2. LOVE this. As I’ve said before Thessaloniki was a major highlight of our trip. Those doors, the tiles, brickwork, the structures and those ever appearing birds. How lucky to enter this amazing space.

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