Historic Temples

Coordinates: 40.638805, 22.947818

Church of Agios Dimitrios

The church of Agios Dimitrios, patron saint of Thessaloniki, is located at the centre of the city, on Agios Dimitrios street, over the Ancient Agora and consists undoubtedly its most important Early Christian monument, both due to religious and historical reasons.

The early Christian basilica was built in the area where in the Roman Period was a complex of public baths. According to traditions, it was in these baths that Agios Dimitrios was imprisoned and martyred with a spear. At this location, after the Edict of Milan regarding religious tolerance in 313, a small church was built over the saint’s tomb. Soon believers from all over started to arrive and pray at the saint’s tomb in order to help them heal from various diseases. Among the pilgrims was the Prefect of Illyricum Leontius, who after being healed and to show his gratitude to Agios Dimitrios built a new, more impressive church in its place.

They transferred the saint’s tomb there from the baths and they placed it in a ciborium in the middle aisle. Today the renovated marble ciborium is at the northern aisle.

The 5th century church was destroyed by an earthquake in 620 and was rebuilt in the middle of the 7th century according to the standards of the older church. The church was an important pilgrimage centre throughout the Byzantine Period and Agios Dimitrios became the patron saint of the Balkans.

In 1493, after the occupation of Thessaloniki by the Turks, the church was converted into a mosque (Kasimiye Camii). Christian worship was limited then at a small area on the northwestern of the church, where they made the saint’s cenotaph. It was returned in Christian hands in 1912, after the liberation of the city.

However, in the great fire in 1917 the church was largely destroyed. Its restoration lasted until 1949.

Architecturally, the church of Agios Dimitrios belongs to the type of five-aisled basilica with a transept aisle and a gallery (gynaeconitis). On the southeastern corner of the monument they added in the 10th century the three-aisled chapel of Agios Efthimios, with excellent wall paintings of 1303. In front of the chapel there is a stair that leads to the underground Crypt of the church, part of the Roman baths. A museum is there nowadays.

For the construction of the basilica they used various types of capitals of the 5th and 6th century, many of which today are modern replicas, as is the present day screen.

At the monument, what stand out are the nine votive mosaic panels, which are on the pillars of the bema and on the western wall and date from the 6th and the 7th century. Some wall paintings of various eras survive on the pillars and he southern wall. The wall paintings of the bema are contemporary.

On the northwestern side of the middle aisle, there is the tomb of Loukas Spantounis, a rich merchant of Thessaloniki, a characteristic example of Renaissance art. The sculptures if the tomb of the 15th century were imported from Venice.


Contact phone:


middle of the 7th century

Early Christian

26th of October

Holy Metropolis: 

Under the Supervision of: 
Archaeological Service of the city of Thessaloniki

Agiou Dimitriou 97 54633

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Access to People with Special Needs: 

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