Photographer's Note

The Rotunda, built by Roman emperor Galerius in 306 AD, is the oldest of Thessaloniki’s churches and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was built at the turning point between the pagan and Christian world, probably as a temple for ancient cult worship or as a mausoleum for Constantine the Great (306-337).
The building, with a diameter of 24.5 meters, covers an isosceles dome made of bricks, reaching a height of 29.8 meters. The 6.3 meter cylindrical wall is split internally into eight rectangular niches of which the south was the main entrance.
After Galerius’s death in 311, the Rotunda stood empty for several decades until the Emperor Theodosius I ordered its conversion into a Christian church in the late fourth century.

The building was used as a church (Church of Asomaton or Archangelon) for over 1,200 years until the city fell to the Ottomans.

In 1590, it was converted into a mosque, called the Mosque of Suleyman Hortaji Effendi, and a minaret was added to the structure. It was used as a mosque until 1912, when the Greeks liberated the city during the Balkan War.
Greek Orthodox officials converted it into a church in honor of Saint George, probably because of the little church with the same name situated in its vicinity.

However, the name Rotunda was the one that prevailed due to the shape of its hemispherical dome.

WS Inside Rotunda

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 321 W: 129 N: 1562] (9419)
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