In the historic center of the city stands one of the most famous and oldest monuments of Thessaloniki. The foundation of Rotonda was established around 300 AD and today it is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tormented monument was supposed to become a mausoleum, it then became a place of worship for the Roman gods, later it was converted into a Christian church, afterwards to a mosque and finally to St. George’s church.
I won’t talk any further about the history of this stunning building, the splendid mosaics and the amazing acoustics, I’m sure you can find more details in a guidebook. For me a very interesting and unknown part of the monument is its garden. I’ve noticed that every time I mention to someone how much I like the garden of Rotonda, they usually reply that they’ve visited the monument but not the garden.
The space around the Rotonda is a small interesting garden with a fountain at the entrance and various decorations and ancient pieces of the temple. At the back of the garden there is a Muslim tomb, next to it some Jewish tombstones and some Roman inscriptions. So here, at just one point of the garden, you have a mini history lesson of the city.
I like to visit this garden with my book, to follow the sun depending on the time of the day, relax in the city center and steal a little of the history and energy of this space.