Palaistra - Architectural Structure

The Palaistra is located in the northeast part of the palace of ancient Pella. Its dimensions are 75 X 65 m. covering an area of 4.875 square meters. It features a large courtyard surrounded by a peristyle, which may have been made of wood. A significant portion of the foundation of the north and east sides has been preserved. At the ends of the southern portico, circular wells with a diameter of approximately 1 meter were discovered. These were carved into the natural rock and had a built-up upper part.

Behind the northern portico, there is an elongated space 6.10 m. wide, which occupies almost the entire width of the building. Behind this elongated space, a series of rooms was uncovered, accessible from it.

Most of the northern wing of the palaistra remains in good condition. The rooms of the northern portico were constructed in a stepped manner into the rock. The superstructure of the walls was made of raw bricks.

In the northeastern corner of the Palaistra, there is a large swimming pool known as the “Kolymvithra” (7.5 m. long and 5 meters wide). It is connected to both the Palaistra and Building IV (the royal apartments). Its construction involved carving into the natural rock and using the surrounding area for its foundation. There is a large drainage channel that runs from east to west underneath the pool and passes through its foundation, To the south of the reservoir, a rectangular chamber was discovered, communicating with the elongated space of the northern portico of the Palaistra. It also had a connection with Building IV. To the north of the Palaistra, two drains were identified, responsible for channeling rainwater into the cistern of the pool.

The first of the eastern chambers, referred to by the excavator as the “Conisterium” or the preparation room for wrestling, is a spacious area covering 60 square meters. It retains its monolithic threshold in the southern section. On both sides of the entrance, two later constructions were found, dividing the “Conisterium” into three smaller chambers, with the central one being narrower.

The room just west of the “Conisterium” has been identified by the excavator as the “Coryceum,” a space for the preparation of the boxers.
The chamber referred to as the “Ephebeum” is the central room, situated approximately halfway along the length of the Second Portico. It is possible that the “Ephebeum” did not have a southern wall; instead, the southern wall in this area may have functioned as a colonnade with columns in a row.

To the west of the “Ephebeum,” there is the Mosaic Hall with a pebble-paved floor that is well-preserved. The pebbles are set in a robust mortar, showing ancient repairs in some areas. In the center of the room, oriented from east to west, there is a wall plastered with mortar on both fronts, dividing the room into two nearly equal spaces.

North of the aforementioned rooms, a drainage ditch was identified. This ditch appears to have directed rainwater towards a large natural cavity located west of the Swimming Pool.

At the westernmost end of the complex, similarly to the swimming pool, there is a “Loutron” with a paved floor sloping towards the northwest, where the presence of a clay drainage pipe extending beyond the room’s boundaries was discovered. The existence of a drainage system indicates its use as a Bathhouse.

At the eastern end of the second portico, situated to the south of the swimming pool, there is a room identified by the excavator as the “Epistasion,” featuring a floor constructed using clay mortar.

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