European Heritage Days: The City, the World and the Saint
25 September 2017 14:17
“The City, the World and the Saint”
“European Heritage Days” at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki
Presented by Dr. Athanasios K. Siniakos
Friday, the 22nd of September
The Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki has participated in the celebration of the “European Heritage Days” since 1991. For the two years period 2017-2108 the Museums Days of “Heritage” Activities are dedicated to the “city/cities”. On Friday, the 22nd of September, a Power Point Presentation and a Thematic Guided Tour through the permanent exhibition of the Museum, titled “The city, the world and the saint (Saint Demetrios)” was organized by the Museum, and Pinewood's Ms. Amalia Spiliakou was very fortunate to attend it. The Museum’s Lecturer was Dr. Athanasios K. Siniakos.
For many years, I guide my students through the Museum of Byzantine Culture, which thanks to its ingenious architectural design and its rich collection of artifacts is a true center of the Muses. In 1989, the Museum’s architect, Kyriakos Krokos, wrote: I wanted a space within which movement would create a feeling of freedom, stirring up the senses, and where the exhibit would be a surprise within the movement. As I walked around the Museum with the guidance of Dr. Siniakos, I had many pleasant surprises which will enrich my next guided tours for my students.
The Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki has many “Icons” of Saint Demetrios. My favorite is in Room 1: The Early Christian Church. It is a 6th century, partially destroyed, mosaic panel of Saint Demetrios with supplicants and it comes from the small North Inner Isle, in the grand Basilica of Saint Demetrios, in the center of Thessaloniki. This mosaic panel of Saint Demetrios, dated in the 6th century, was discovered, under coats of paint, in 1907, during the last years of Ottoman rule and stirred much excitement among Byzantinologists and artist, who visited Thessaloniki to admire, study and document it. How fortunate, because during the great fire of 1917, the great Church of Saint Demetrios, along with much of its interior decoration, was seriously damaged. This elegant Mosaic depiction of Thessaloniki’s patron Saint is all that survived, reminding us what a great center of the Arts Thessaloniki was.
- Ms. Amalia Spiliakou