Philippi

Macedonia and Thrace

Philippi is an ancient archaeological site near Kavala in East Macedonia and Thrace and is famous for being the place where the apostle St Paul was imprisoned.

The Ruins of Basilica B at PhilippiThe Ruins of Basilica B

The ancient site of Phílippi (or Filippoi) is 18km (11 miles) northwest of Kavála and was once a thriving town. Its impressive remains today straddle the main Kavála-Drama road. The site was named after King Philip II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, after he captured it from the Thracians in 356 BBC. The remains that are visible now date mostly from the Roman period, though.

St Paul in Prison

The most famous part of the site is the remnants of the prison in which St Paul was allegedly kept when he arrived here on his first visit to Europe to preach the Gospels of Christ in 49AD. It's thought that Philippi was the first place that the apostle preached on European soil. In spite of this unfriendly welcome, he remained here for a time and established a congregation, and returned here two more times, in 56 and 57AD.

Prior to the arrival of St Paul, the town was most notable for the Battle of Phílippi, which took place in 42 BC. The murderers of Julius Caesar, Brutus, and Cassius, had fled with their armies but were confronted here by the pursuing forces of Mark Antony and Octavian. When it was clear that they were going to be heavily defeated, Brutus and Cassius both killed themselves.

Philippi Theatre

The Theatre at PhilippiThe Theatre at Philippi

There is a sizeable theatre on the site, which dates back to the time of Philip II but was rebuilt during the Roman era for use as an amphitheatre. On this side of the road – which was part of the Via Egnatia linking Rome with Istanbul and which passes through Thessaloniki – is also the site museum, although if time is limited it can be safely skipped as the main attractions are actually still in situ.

Philippi Roman Baths

On the opposite side of the road are the bulk of the town’s remains, including two rather contrasting features. One is the foundations of a church known as Basilica B, which is impressive in its scale, and the other is the remains of the public latrine, equally impressive for the state of preservation of its fifty marble seats. To complete the ablutions, the remains of the Roman Baths are nearby, which were built in 250AD but destroyed soon afterwards in a fire.

Philippi, GreecePhilippi

More Information

Visit the official Greek website for Philippi.

See our other Thrace pages...

  • Avdira (or Abdera) and its ancient archaeological site in Thrace

    The village of Avdira, or Abdera, with its ancient archaeological site is close to Xanthi in Thrace, Greece, and has its own beach and nearby is Lake Vistonida.

  • Alexandroupoli in the Thrace region of Greece

    Alexandroupoli is a city in the Thrace region of Greece, in the extreme east of the country, the closest Greek city to the border with Turkey.

  • Northern Greece Guide

    The Bradt Guide to Northern Greece is a detailed guide to Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Thrace, The Pelion, The Sporades and the rest of Northern Greece.

  • Xanthi in Thrace, Eastern Greece

    The city of Xanthi in Thrace is a lively university town with several museums, old mansions, and one of the best markets in Thrace.

  • Macedonia and Thrace

    Macedonia and Thrace are the regions in Greece where travelers will find Thessaloniki, Mount Athos monasteries, Halkidiki and sites like Dion and Pella.

  • Komotini in Thrace, Greece

    Komotini is a town in eastern Thrace in Greece, with many Turkish influences, and it is also home to the Pomak people.

  • Evros Delta National Park in Thrace, Greece

    The Evros Delta National Park is one of the most important wetlands in the whole of Europe, and a magnet for birdwatchers, with nearby accommodation.

  • Dadia Forest Reserve and Ecotourism Centre

    The Dadia Forest in eastern Greece is famous for wildlife, especially birds, with accommodation and information available at the Dadia Ecotourism Centre.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Greek Recovery Funds to Go into Acropolis Upgrade Works

    Twelve projects including upgrade works on the Acropolis have been cleared for funding out of “Greece 2.0” – the country’s recovery plan approved earlier this month. Alternate Finance Minister Theodor…

    Read More

  2. US Keeps Covid-19 Travel Restrictions Due to Delta Variant

    The United States will keep all existing Covid-19 travel restrictions in place due to concerns over the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announce…

    Read More

  3. Chania, in Western Crete

    Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.

    Read More

  4. Cyprus Obliges Travelers from Greece to Undergo Testing Before Arrival

    Greece has been placed on the Covid-19 orange list of Cyprus’ colour-coded country categorization travel system, based on a new epidemiological risk assessment of countries. The new changes come into…

    Read More

  5. Greece’s Indoor Restaurants, Venues Only for the Vaccinated

    Starting Friday, July 16, indoor venues such as restaurants, bars, and theaters will only be accepting vaccinated and seated-only customers until August 31, Development and Investments Minister Adonis…

    Read More

  6. AEGEAN Begins Operation of Seasonal Base on Mykonos

    Greek carrier AEGEAN has started the operation of its seasonal base on Mykonos, aiming to enhance its flagship quality services and improve the connection of the popular Cycladic island with major int…

    Read More

  7. UK Revises Advisory for Greece, Paves Way for Travel

    The UK’s FCDO revised its travel advisory for Greece after announcing on Thursday that as of July 19 travelers from amber-listed countries would not be required to self-isolate upon return.

    Read More

  8. Greece to Launch ‘Covid Pass’ App that Checks Customer ‘Safe’ Status

    Greece said this week that starting July 15, restaurant and F&B business owners would be able to download an application that will check whether the health/vaccination status information provided by c…

    Read More

  9. Authorities Recommend Self-test for Land Travel in Greece

    Travel by road domestically in Greece will not require a negative rapid test but the presentation of a negative self-test is highly recommended, said Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias d…

    Read More

  10. Covid-19: Greece Extends Rules for Domestic Flights to the Islands

    The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) has extended the travel rules for passengers of domestic flights traveling from the mainland to the islands, until 6am, on Thursday, July 15.

    Read More