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The temple of Dionysus in Macedonia
Ruins of an ancient temple lie in an area of Macedonia known in ancient times as Crestonia. It lies between the modern Macedonian capital Thessaloniki and the town of Kilkis. The region took its name from its old Thracian inhabitants, a tribe called Crestones. Aristotle mentions a major temple to Dionysus near the land of the Bisaltians, another Thracian tribe that may have lived to the north of Crestonia. Two Greek inscriptions found in the precinct of the sanctuary are dedicated to Dionysus. One of them has been dated to the 5th C BC. Was this the «great and beautiful» temple of Dionysus near the land of the Bisaltians mentioned by Aristotle in his «Marvelous Accounts» (Περί Θαυμασίων Ακουσμάτων)?A Dionysus-like god was a popular cult deity among the Thracians and Paeonians, who called him Dryalus. The cult of Dionysus was also popular among the Macedonians. One of the best known, almost emblematic, mosaics from Pella shows Dionysus riding a leopard. Alexander the Great offered sacrifices to Dionysus in temples he dedicated to the god in the cities he founded during his campaign. Indeed, Alexander is alleged by a Roman historian to have sacrificed to Dionysus at the Oracle of Dionysus of the Satrians in Thrace before undertaking his campaign to conquer Persia.
Sadly, while Greece is engaged in a 200 year long war of arguments and consciences over the return of the fragments of the Parthenon from the British Museum and other museums, the few remains of the temple in Crestonia lie scattered and forlorn. Echedoros recently published online a video made by Visaltis about the ruined and dismembered sanctuary (http://echedoros-a.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post_848.html).«On the approach to the temple we encounter carcinogenic materials» he exasperates. There are sheets of asbestos lying on the ground, next to the wire fence enclosing the temple precinct. Inside a few pillars lie scattered, while rusted sheets of asbestos cover the remaining ruins of what may have been a small chapel built at the site of the ancient sanctuary. The scant remains of the ruined chapel seem to have been transformed into an impromptu place of worship replete with an icon Συνέχεια