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Dion

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DION

The modern Dion is located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Olympus, 15 km south of Katerini, in close proximity to the ruins of the ancient city, currently as a part of the Dio-Olympus municipality. The archaeological site, the theater ruins and the modern museum boosted tourism development in the region, mainly based on livestock and tobacco farming. The “Diia in Olympus” and “Olympus Festival”, sport and cultural events taking place in the area, were by tradition dedicated to Olympian Zeus. The Archaeological Museum of Dion, opened in 1983, hosts archaeological finds from the wider Pieria region (Dion, Olympus, Pydna, Ritini) and exhibits findings as statues, tombstones, coins and minor items excavated in the ancient city and necropolis of Ancient Dion.

Ancient Dion, a city of great strategic importance in Macedonia, was founded by King Deucalion of Thessaly in honor of Zeus. By the end of the 5th century BC, it had become a local spiritual and cultural center, while later both Macedonian kings Phillip II and Alexander the Great organize significant sport events and religious offerings. Keeping independent government and coin, it grows commercially as a city of the Roman Empire and becomes a Bishop under the Christianity prevalence, being renamed to “Dios” and later to “Malathria”. Completely destroyed after the Ottoman dominance, the ancient city ruins are located in 1806, but excavations are not to start until 1928, when significant archaeological finds come to light – Greek and Egyptian temples and sanctuaries, public buildings, villas and theaters, as well as two posterior Christian churches.

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