In 30 BC, after the destruction of Hellenistic Pella, Octavian founded 1.5 km west of the Hellenistic capital, in the area north of the "Baths of Alexander the Great", in a new current location on Egnatia Street, Roman colony of Pella, also known as Colonia Pella. Building remains, coins, and representative pottery mark the revival of the city during the early Christian period. In this phase, the fortified precinct of the city. noticeably smaller, it includes part of the former Roman colony. Excavations carried out in the north-western part of the city testify that the time of construction of the city walls can be linked to the end of the 3rd century, while the mobile findings confirm that the period of operation of the fortification was the entire 4th and 5th centuries. However, a possible identification of the city with the "Amyndou Royal Palaces" mentioned by the historian Procopius as one of the fortresses of the area that were repaired by Justinian, testifies to the renovation and operation of the wall during the 6th century. The building activity that developed in the city during early Bydian period attests a magnificent temple located north of the "Baths of Alexander the Great". Walls of buildings that flank it to the north and south testify that the church was not an individual religious building but was part of a wider monumental complex. At the same time, the presence of a wall a short distance to the east makes it attractive to identify it with a fortified enclosure, which enclosed the complex. Excavation evidence shows that the basilica was founded in the second half of the 5th century and was destroyed at the beginning of the 7th century, but the site continued to be in use for a few more centuries, functioning as a residential facility. Finally, one of the latest building remains on the site is the single-bay church from the late Byzantine period, which was built a short distance west of the basilica.
In the archaeological site of the Roman Colony of Pella, a short distance north of the so-called "Baths of Alexander the Great", a magnificent temple was excavated in the type of three-aisled, wooden-roofed basilica with narthex, external narthex and atrium. The temple has total dimensions of 42.50 X 20.20m. Two built pilasters, at a distance of 4 m from the north and south wall respectively, supported colonnades dividing the interior of the temple into three aisles. To the east protrudes the central arch of the Holy Step, which is semi-circular, 7.50 m long, inside which is formed a semi-circular, stepped synthron, lined with marble slabs. In contact with the western end of the synthron, the sympcellia are formed, which are covered with marble slabs. The excavation at the site also revealed part of the dam of the presbytery,
Particularly impressive marble inlays with colorful tiles cover the floors of the Holy Step, the central aisle and the central part of the narthex of the basilica, while coarse mosaics with a geometric theme adorn the floors of the side aisles, the narthex and the external narthex. The dating of the mosaics in the second half of the 5th century leads to a dating of the construction of the temple in this period. Excavation data show that after the destruction suffered by the monument, in the middle of the 6th century a wide renovation took place, which changed the architectural form and partly its decoration. Above the side aisles and the narthex were built arcades, which were led by a brick staircase located in the narthex. A second pilaster was added to the north aisle, a short distance from the main one, which brought colonnades along its entire length and blocked the access of the faithful to the central aisle. Excavation to the south of the basilica revealed a monumental staircase, which probably connected the basilica with some street artery of the city. It consists of four tiers through which pilgrims ascended to a portico-corridor. This corridor to the north communicated through doors with the narthex and the exonarthex, while to the east it ended in an independent addition, which could be connected to a baptistery. The cause and time of the destruction of the complex is not known. However, the excavation evidence testifies that the destruction was caused by some sudden event (probably an earthquake), which should be placed around the beginning of the 7th century, a period in which Slavic tribes settled in the area.
The great importance of the complex is evidenced by the presence of a wall a short distance east of the basilica, which could have functioned as an enclosure that enclosed the complex providing protection and security inside.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou