The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is one of the largest museums in Greece and the central museum of northern Greece. It holds and interprets artifacts from the Prehistoric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly from the city of Thessaloniki but also from the region of Macedonia in general.
The museum is housed in a building designed by architect Patroklos Karantinos and is an example of the modern architectural trends of Greece. Built in 1962, the museum had a new wing added to it in 1980, in which the findings from Vergina were displayed, up until 1997. In 2001 and 2004, in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics, the museum was extensively renovated and its permanent exhibits reorganized.
The central rooms hold exhibits from the archaeological excavations conducted in Thessaloniki and the broader area of Macedonia. The new wing hosts two exhibitions: The Gold of Macedon, with artefacts from the cemeteries of Sindos, Agia Paraskevi, Nea Filadelfia, Makrygialos, Derveni, Lete, Serres, and Evropos; and The Thessaloniki Area in Prehistory, with material from prehistoric settlements, dating from the Neolithic to the Early and Late Bronze Age.
At present, the collection of Archaic to Late Roman sculptures from Thessaloniki and Macedonia in general is displayed in the central section of the museum. They illustrate the history of Thessaloniki from prehistoric times to Late Antiquity. These rooms display architectural members from an Ionic temple of the 6th century BC, sculptures of all periods from Macedonia, exhibits from the excavations in the palace complex built by Galerius in the Thessaloniki city centre, a reconstruction of the façade of the Macedonian tomb in Agia Paraskevi, with genuine architectural members, and finds (mainly gold artefacts) of the Archaic and Classical periods from the Sindos cemetery. In all these rooms, certain important exhibits have been singled out and further information about them is given to help visitors appreciate the importance of each exhibit and of the area and the period from which it comes.
Apart from its permanent displays, the Archaeological Museum also hosts major temporary and thematic exhibitions.
In the new wing, the Gold of Macedon exhibition includes finds from numerous excavations in Central Macedonia. Taking the history of gold as its central theme, it presents the culture of Macedonia from the 6th century BC to 148 BC, discussing the use of gold (jewellery, sartorial decoration, gilding of objects and vessels, coins), the technology of the manufacture of gold jewellery, and the techniques of gold mining. There are also numerous finds from cemeteries, and their role in burial customs is described.
The Thessaloniki in Prehistory exhibition aims to recreate a picture of the Thermaic Gulf littoral before the city of Thessaloniki was built. It presents the first excavations, which were carried out during the First World War by British and French troops, and finds from the most important prehistoric settlements in the area (Thermi, Vassilika, Stavroupoli, Oraiokastro, Assiros, Toumba, and Kastana) divided into three chronological groups (Neolithic, and Early and Late Bronze Age).References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.