According to an inscription found next to the eastern town gate of Emona, on the site of the present Trg francoske revolucije square, the Roman town walls were built between 14 and 15 AD. The rectangular-shaped walls surrounding the town centre measured 2.4 metres wide and from 6 to 8 metres high. They included at least 26 towers and four main gates. The towers were erected at equal distances along the length of the walls and next to the town's side gates as extensions of Emona's roads. On all sides except the east, which was naturally protected by a slope descending towards the Ljubljanica river, the town was additionally protected by a double moat.
The wall shell was built from carved stone blocks bound with mortar and filled with a conglomerate of river pebbles, small rocks, sand and lime. The wall structure was so solid and robust that certain parts of the wall survived for as long as 2,000 years. The inner structure of the wall is visible in the Mirje suburb, the location of the part of the walls which stood to the west of the main southern gate of Emona. For security reasons some of the side gates had been walled up already in Roman times to ward off attacks from barbarian tribes. One of the surviving walled-up gates can be seen in the western part of the walls in Mirje.
In the 1930s, the town wall complex in Mirje was restored to a design by the architect Jože Plečnik. His additions to the surviving Roman walls include a stone pyramid, upward extensions of the walls, the gates to the wall complex, an arched vault covered in stone remains from nearby Roman buildings, and a park inside the walls. Also the colonnade next to the main southern gate is of non-Roman origin. The walls were renovated in the 1990s.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.