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Virgin Mary Acheiropoietos

The Church of Panagia Achiropoietos, on Agia Sofia Street, is a rare monument of the Byzantine period that remains in its original condition. Built-in the 5th century, in the place of Roman baths that came to light after excavations, it remained unchanged over the centuries and the transformations it underwent, both architecturally and administratively.

It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary from the beginning and took its name from an image of her. In 1430, with the occupation of the city by the Ottomans, it was converted into a mosque and remained a Muslim place of worship until the liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912. It hosted families of refugees of World War I, victims of the fire of 1917, and refugees of Asia Minor, before re-operating as a place of Christian worship in 1930.

Acheiropoietos is today one of the best-preserved and most important examples of a typical wooden-roofed basilica with a gallery of the early Byzantine period.


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