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Thessaloniki - Church of St Demetrius Church of St Demetrius
It is a five-aisled basilica with oblique aisle and is one of the most important Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki. The exact date of when the first (Early Christian) church was built is not known but archaeologists believed that it was built by Leontios in 412 AD, but a big fire destroyed it all. A second church was built on the same spot in 628. According to tradition, the first church was built very close to the Roman baths where St Demetrius martyred and it was believed that the water of the baths could cure diseases. The church suffered many damages because of attacks and fires with the most serious one in 1917, a fire that burnt ⅔ of the whole city. The church took its current form with additional works that finished in 1958. One very important date for the history of the church was the year 1978, when the remains of St Demetrius were returned in Thessaloniki from Italy. They were placed inside a silver reliquary, where they are still being kept. As a guest you can see some great mosaics from the 8th century, murals of saints and of Byzantine Emperors, as well as the painting of Archbishop of Thessaloniki Gregorius Palamas. You can also visit the crypt of the temple where you can see sculptures and many objects of the rich history of the church.
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