Arch of Galerius (Kamara)
The Arch of Galerius in Thessaloniki, also called Kamara (the Greek word kamara means a vault, an arch) is a triumphal arch that was built at the end of the 3rd century by the Roman tetrarch Galerius. The arch that was constructed to celebrate Galerius’ victory over the Persian Sasanians and the conquest of their capital, the city of Ctesiphon, was finished at the beginning of the 4th century. Originally it had eight pillars, out of which only three have been preserved till nowadays, with well-preserved embossed marble panels depicting the fights against the Persians and the celebration of their defeat. On one of the reliefs, there is Galerius in battle with an eagle hovering above him, bringing a wreath as a sign of the future victory. Another relief represents the emperor’s family at the altar during a thanksgiving ceremony.
The arch which is a frequent meeting point especially for the young people due to its position in the very city centre, is located on the corner of the Egnatía and Dimitríou Gounari streets. In its original form, it was spanning the whole Egnatía street that was the main Roman route leading from the west (from Dyrrachium, a city in today’s Albania) to the east (to Byzantium that later became Constantinople; today’s Istanbul. Near Kamara (in the direction along the Dimitríou Gounari street to the top), you will find the Rotunda (Agios Georgios), also built by Galerius. In the opposite direction (walking on Dimitriou Gounari downwards to the waterfront), you can see the remains of the Galerius Palace.