Perhaps the earliest of the city's surviving churches. It was modified in the 7th and again in the 14th–15th centuries
Fragments of 5th-century mosaics and 13th century frescoes survive, depicting the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
The single piece columns are green marble from Thessaly and the central nave pavement is still original from the 5th century, made by Proconnesian marble. The Ionic capitals are of the late antiquity - Constantinopolitan type.
The few surviving mosaics represent a rare example of art surviving from the Dark Ages in Europe that followed Justinian's death.
An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Saloniki from a pagan Slavic raid in 612 A.D.
The rest of the wall art was lost when the building functioned as a mosque, and finally during the 1917 fire that gutted it.
The subsequent repairs revealed however a extensive crypt under the basilica
Research revealed it to be an ancient bathhouse which acquired the form of a crypt when the level of the ground gradually rose over the centuries before the construction of the present day building in the 7th century.
Built by Caesar Galerius, it is the second largest surviving Roman dome after the pantheon, with a diameter of 24.5m.
Intended possibly as mausoleum to himself, or a temple either to Zeus or Cabeiri, it remained empty and undecorated after his death in 311.
Constantine the Great possibly turned it into a church a few decades later, or a baptistery.
Although it couldn't have been used officially as a church until Christianity became the official religion under Theodosius by the end of the century.
The rotunda has no external buttresses, the outward pushing forces from weight of the dome are countered by a very thick drum wall (6m) which is also raised higher than the dome itself, pushing the whole structure downwards by the brute force of its mass
This is the same method used in the Pantheon. Later centuries architecture remedied the need of such inefficient solutions.
The surviving mosaics on the dome are from the early 400s A.D, with names and dates of saints from 284-305 A.D. that are unknown and contradict modern calendars.
It is possibly the oldest surviving church building in the world that hasn't seen previous use.
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