Hippodrome Square Thessaloniki

Hippodrome Square Thessaloniki

Hippodrome square, is located in the centre of Thessaloniki, very close to Navarinou area. Hippodrome, was part of the complex of buildings that the Roman emperor Galerius built in Thessaloniki. Thus, the name of the square comes originates from this.

The Hippodrome, is associated with one of Thessaloniki’s most grey pages during the time Theodosius (Byzantine Emperor) was in charge of the city(379 to 395 AC). During Theodosius ruling, many unsustainable taxes were imposed to the people of Thessaloniki in order to cover for the costs of a lot of wars that he was participating. Due to this the people of Thessaloniki were greatly dissatisfied and the dissatisfaction was rising day by day. In 390, Vouterichos (the commander of the gothic guard ) arrested and imprisoned a charioteer very dear to the people because of his participation in the chariot races. The people of Thessaloniki asked for his release but Vouterihos denied it and was murdered by the people. This made Theodosius very angry and in order to prevent any rebellion demanded exemplary punishment of the ringleaders and found that there was a collective responsibility. So he called the people of the city to gather at the Hippodrome to watch the horse races and once the bleachers were filled, the Goths of the garrison unexpectedly attacked and massacred, without discriminating between gender or age more than fifteen thousand innocent people.

Theodosius was called to repent publicly that he took the decision in haste without thinking about it. After this Theodosius was baptized a Christian and to atone what he did he built in the eastern part of the Thessaloniki an orphanage for the orphans of the people who were massacred by his order.

Nowadays, nothing from the old Hippodrome has been preserved and the square is in front of the Thessaloniki’s Historical Center.

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