Constructed during the reign of Philip II (359-336 π.Χ.), the palace of Aigai is not only the biggest but, together with the Parthenon, the most significant building of classical Greece.
Built in the city of Aigai, on a raised outcrop of the hill, this huge building –the biggest in classical Greece and three times the size of Parthenon- was visible from the whole Macedonian basin; a remarkable landmark, a symbol of power and beauty. A unique building, utterly revolutionary and avant-garde for its time, the palace of Aigai, which was designed for Philip by an ingenious architect –probably Pytheos, known for his contribution to the construction of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and to the development of urban planning and the theory of proportion- will become an archetype of all basileia (kingdoms), i.e., the palaces in the Hellenistic world and beyond.
The masonry and architectural members, all artfully processed, were covered with lustrous high-quality marble stucco that resembles marble and calls to remembrance Vitruvius’ description of the plaster used in Mausolus’ palace that shined as if made of glass. Thousands of roofing tiles and relief antefixes of excellent quality, hundreds of square meters of floors covered with marble inlays and mosaics, some of which constitute exceptional works of art, extravagant pigments, bronze and all kinds of luxurious materials were used to create a complex that would fulfill the king’s ambition. However, beyond the luxurious materials, the inventiveness and perfection of construction techniques, and the astonishing technological achievements traced on all levels of construction, the most fascinating and dominant element of this unique building is its ingenious architectural conception.
The large square peristyle (row of columns surrounding a space within a building) –the “heart” of the building- together with the areas surrounding it, and the impressive propylon (structure forming the entrance to a building) enclosed by stoes (porticos, roofed colonnades) that form the façade, constitute the basic elements of this innovative for its era architectural project.