Ancient Pella - The areas and the monuments

The ancient city with the urban system of the last quarter of the 4th cent. BC and the Hellenistic modifications is extended in an area of 4.000.000 sq.m. The earliest remains of the first architectural phase of the city were brought to light in the area of the complex of the sanctuary of the healing deity Dharron. 

The big extension and construction of the city favored by the smooth terrain, date to the years of the reign of   Cassander (316 – 298 BC), who cancelled the northern fortification wall of the Classical city and the existing cemetery in the area of the Agora (market place). The building blocks of equal width and length that varies (110, 125, 133, 152 m.), are created by streets N-S and E – W that intersect, 6 and 9 m. respectively. 

The Hellenistic Agora (market place) occupies the centre of the city; it is 260 X 238 m. and constitutes part of the urban plan of the city, extending to 10 building blocks. The Agora was built during the reign of Cassander (end of the 4th cent. BC) in the area of the former Classical cemetery of the city and served as a trade, administrative and social centre of Hellenistic Pella until the destruction of the city by an earthquake about 90 BC.    

Only three of the numerous sanctuaries of the Hellenistic city have been investigated; the rest are only recorded in ancient sources. The sanctuary of Darron, a local healing deity, is found in the southwestern part of the city. The sanctuary of the Mother of Gods and Aphrodite, where the two deities were worshipped as patron goddesses of Pella is located north from the Agora. The identity of the goddesses was implied by the dedications found inside and around the temple, the south open air area, and the storerooms and workshops. A third sanctuary, Thesmophorio, came to light in the northeastern bounds of the city, inside the modern village. It was an agrarian sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone that contained a circular precinct with an altar at the centre and irregular cavities cut into the natural bedrock (called dwellings of Demeter, where piglets were thrown to honor the goddess). The festival of Thesmophoria took place in autumn and aimed at the revival of nature.  

The cemeteries expand at a short distance from the eastern and the western wall of the Hellenistic city and occupy a vast area until Nea Pella to the west and the bounds between Pella and Chalkidona to the east. The cemeteries are dense by the walls, while Macedonian tombs and large cist graves are found at a bigger distance. The cemeteries date from the 4th century to the Roman period and contain all types of graves found in cemeteries of the Greek world in this period.

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