Archeological Site of Vergina (1996)
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The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world.
Vergina, formerly known as Aigaes, was founded by King Perdikas in the 7th Century BC, and was the first capital of Macedonia. When the capital was later moved to Pella it continued to be used as the royal burial grounds.
In 1976 the Royal Macedonian Tombs in Vergina (Greek Macedonia) were found and revealed important archeological finds from the Macedonian past. The finding of the tomb of King Philip II (382-336 BC, father of king Alexander the Great) was so important for the understanding of Macedonia's past and Thracian art history, that a commemorative set of stamps was issued in 1979. The set shown here is partly new, partly commercially used. In 336 BC, King Phillip II was assassinated by one of his seven bodyguards while attending the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra in the theatre.
It is an interesting co-incidence that the ancient name of present-day's Bulgarian town Plovdiv, was Philippopolis, directly named after the Macedonian kings Philip I and II. With the death of King Philip II, a new era began with his son, Alexander the Great's policy of aggrandizement, and conquests of Turkey, Persia and penetration into India.
The site is of outstanding universal value representing an exceptional testimony to a significant development in European civilization, at the transition from classical city-state to the imperial structure of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. This is vividly demonstrated in particular by the remarkable series of royal tombs and their rich contents.
Other World Heritage Sites in Greece (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Greece-section, for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 21 jul 2006