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.

Where to Stay in Kavala



Some other Thrace pages

  • Thessaloniki

    The capital of Macedonia and Greece’s second city, Thessaloníki has a lovely situation by the water, a wealth of history, many good museums, and good food.

  • The Churches of Thessaloniki

    The churches of Thessaloniki are remarkable and include UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, Byzantine masterpieces, and a church dating from the 5th century.

  • Museums of Thessaloniki

    The Greek city of Thessaloniki in Macedonia has an array of wonderful museums and art galleries, and here's twelve of the best.

  • 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.

  • The Royal Tombs and Archaeological Site of Vergina in Macedonia

    The archaeological site of Vergina in Macedonia is famous for the royal tombs which were the burial place of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.

  • The Prespa Lakes in Northern Greece

    The Prespa Lakes in northwest Greece is one of the most beautiful parts of Greece with abundant wildlife and also many ancient churches.

  • Scenic Drives in Northern Greece

    Scenic Drives in Northern Greece, Ioannina, Meteora, Kastoria, Prespa Lakes

  • Kavala

    The city of Kavala in eastern Macedonia is the area's major seaport and the base for ferries to the islands of the North East Aegean, including Thasos.

  • The Site of Ancient Pella in Macedonia, Greece

    Pella in Macedonia is famous for its mosaics and was also the birthplace of both King Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great.

  • 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.

  • Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece

    Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and is in the Mount Olympus National Park in Macedonia, with Litochoro being the best base.

  • Mount Athos

    Visiting Mount Athos in Greece requires a permit, but you can see the monasteries on a boat trip around the peninsula, known as the Monks' Republic.

  • Mount Athos Boat Trips

    Mount Athos boat trips are very popular with visitors to Halkidiki in Greece, as they are the only way most people get to see these spectacular monasteries.

  • 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.

  • Kastoria

    Kastoria is a lakeside town in West Macedonia which prospered with the fur trade and today has some handsome mansions, museums and many Byzantine churches.

  • Halkidikí

    Halkidiki is a three-pronged peninsula near Thessaloniki in Macedonia which comprises Mount Athos and the holiday resorts on Kassandra and Sithonia.

  • 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.

  • Dion

    Dion is a rather wonderful archaeological site in Macedonia, not far from Thessaloniki, with an archaeological museum nearby in the town of Dion.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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