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  • Day599

    Day 600: Vergina

    October 7, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Headed west from Thessaloniki in the morning, aiming for the town of Vergina, and another world heritage site. This one was a large archaeological site, focused largely on a handful of tombs. These were quite remarkable, as they were only uncovered in the 1980s and were completely intact, unlooted. But the most surprising thing was the occupant of one of the tombs: Phillip II of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great!

    This was the spot where his palace was located, and the theatre where he was assassinated was also located nearby. We spent quite a bit of time going through the burial mounds which had an excellent modern museum located basically on top of the burial mounds.

    Unfortunately for us, we weren't allowed to film inside and it was far too dark to film anyway, so hopefully the museum directors come through with some footage or images for me! Afterwards we headed up to check out the ruins of the palace and other areas of the archaeological site, only to discover that they were closed! No further information, just "closed".

    Classic example of both the best and worst of Greece. Incredible museum, very modern and fancy with well done exhibits. Right next to a fenced-off archaeological site that has absolutely no info about whether it's open or not, when you can see it or not, and so on. Fantastic.

    Since Phillip was the King of Macedon, I should explain a little as well about "Macedon". Essentially - Macedonia is a region. Although it's common trivia to say "Alexander the Great was Macedonian", that's true but he's not really associated with the modern nation of Macedonia. The ancient kingdom of Macedonia was a Greek-speaking city state, just like Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and all the others. Their territory was mostly in modern-day Greece (and there are millions of Greeks living in the Greek province of Macedonia who think of themselves as Macedonians), but it did also stretch into today's country of Macedonia (where it should be noted, the population are Slavic and speak Macedonian, a Slavic language). Greece and Macedonia have been arguing for decades about use of the name Macedonia, and at the UN they're officially known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Apparently a compromised was recently reached which would see Macedonia officially named "Republic of North Macedonia". We'll see!

    Anyway, it was a disappointing site all up and we were finished by lunchtime. It was a pretty small village so we checked into our guesthouse and then sat around, both wishing we could drive on to the next place. Ended up spending a few hours at a cafe, then a few more hours in the room. Still felt like quite a waste of a day though, annoyingly.
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