The palace complex, built around 300 under the reign of the tetrarch Galrius, was an administrative and religious centre of Thessaloniki, including also the Rotunda (Agios Georgios), the triumphal Arch of Galerius (Kamara), the palace itself and a hippodrome (which hasn’t been preserved though). The whole palace complex is estimated to have extended on approx. 180 000 m2. Yet it is only the palace itself that is marked as the Galerius Palace in tourist guides, of which the remnants can be found on the today’s Navarinou Square.
Today the main part of the palace is formed by a courtyard that used to have columns along its perimeter, forming the entrance to different rooms. Those were paved with marble and mosaics, of which some have been preserved till nowadays. Probably the most significant construction of the palace complex was the Octagon, an octagonal edifice that may have been built in the place of an older rectangular building. It is formed by seven identical apsides and one larger one that was situated opposite the main entrance. The interior of the Octagon, decorated with marble and various architectural elements, was probably designed to be a kind of a throne room.
In its current form, the Galerius Palace is interesting in particular for experts in classical archaeology; ordinary visitors will be probably satisfied seeing it from the Dimitriou Gounari street or the Navarinou Square (which is even supported by the fact that during summer, the whole complex is exposed to direct sunshine one can’t escape). Despite that, it is worth visiting for its monumental apperance, historical value, and ornamentation. What is more, the route of the visit is accompanied by comprehensive information panels that will help you to get a clear idea of how the original palace complex looked like.
Video of the Rotunda