2,300-Year-Old Aigai Palace Of Conqueror Alexander The Great Reopened After Nearly 20 Year Renovation

(Photo by SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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The Palace of Aigai, the grand structure where Alexander the Great was declared king, has finally reopened its doors during an inauguration Friday, The Associated Press (AP) reported. 

After a comprehensive 16-year renovation where around $22 million was spent, this historic site in northern Greece, dating back over 2,300 years, stands as a testament to the glory of classical Greece and the legacy of the Macedonian kingdom, according to The AP. Built during the reign of Alexander’s father, Phillip II, the Palace of Aigai served as the heart of Macedonia’s power. The extensive renovation was supported by the European Union, the outlet reported. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who reportedly attended the inauguration of the reopening, emphasized the significance of the revival of a site pivotal to ancient Greek history.

“After many years of painstaking work, we can reveal the palace … What we are doing today is an event of global importance,” said Mitsotakis, The AP reported.

The palace, sprawling over 15,000 square meters, was reportedly the governmental and spiritual nucleus of Macedonia. Its grounds were adorned with marble columns, mosaics and other features, according to the outlet. The entire site, including the royal tombs nearby, is recognized as a United Nations World Heritage Site.

The palace is located near the modern village of Vergina, The AP reported. Resembling a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, the restoration involved piecing together original stone fragments with replica pieces, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Gorgeous Historic Church In Albany Listed For Just $100,000)

The significance of Aigai was first spotlighted in the late 1970s, thanks to the groundbreaking work of Manolis Andronikos, a now passed Greek archeologist, The AP reported. His excavations unearthed royal tombs and invaluable artifacts, including what is believed by many to be the remains of Philip II. Andronikos’ work fostered attention to Macedonia, which had previously been overshadowed by Athens, according to The AP.

Angeliki Kottaridi, who reportedly began her work at Aigai as an archaeology student and later spearheaded the palace restoration and the new museum at Aigai, retired Dec. 31. Honored at the ceremony, Kottaridi’s dedication to the project has been pivotal, The AP reported.

“What you discover is stones scattered in the dirt, and pieces of mosaics here and there,” Kottaridi told state television, according to The AP.

“Then you have to assemble things and that’s the real joy of the researcher. So when people ask me what makes me happy, I tell them it’s not the moment something is revealed. It’s the moment you realize you can take the knowledge one step further,” she reportedly added.

The public will be able to access Aigai Sunday, The AP reported.