The Metro construction, which was the dream of Thessalonians, is both a laborious venture and a challenge, since a major technical project in urban environment conditions unavoidably encounters the cultural legacy of the city. For the Metro construction the most extended unified archaeological excavation in Thessaloniki will be carried out and it is estimated that it will cover a total surface of 20,000 sq.m.
ATTIKO METRO S.A., utilizing its precious experience in the execution of archaeological excavations in the framework of the construction of the Athens Metro (total extent: 79,000 sq.m.), made all the necessary modifications to the technical design of the Thessaloniki Metro, so that antiquities may be protected and the execution of the project may proceed unobstructedly. For this reason, the tunnel depth is lower than the successive archaeological layers and ranges from -14m. to -31 m. (based on the previous planning the depth was provided for to range between -7m and -9m.).
Based on a special study carried out by archaeologists with regard to Thessaloniki Metro project as to the tunnel section from SIDIRODROMIKOS STATHMOS to PANEPISTIMIO Station, the revealing of archaeological finds is expected to be continuous; however, a larger number of finds is expected to be encountered at the section falling within the walls of Thessaloniki, i.e. from DIMOKRATIAS Square to SINTRIVANI section. Three stations at Thessaloniki Metro network present high archaeological interest (Stations: DIMOKRATIAS SQUARE, VENIZELOU & AGHIAS SOFIAS), while three other stations present an average archaeological interest (Stations: NEOS SIDIRODROMIKOS STATHMOS, SINTRIVANI & PANEPISTIMIO). Of course, throughout the execution of the archaeological excavations for the construction of technical projects in urban areas, due to numerous interventions and modifications that have been made to the residential complexes throughout the centuries, archaeologists have been surprised since antiquities have been encountered at locations where they were not expected to and vice versa.
ATTIKO METRO S.A. cooperates successfully with the Ministry of Culture and the Departments of Antiquities based on the relevant Memorandum of Appreciation and Co-operation. The archaeological excavation is currently under way around the perimeter of VENIZELOU, SYNTRIVANI & NEOS SIDIRODROMIKOS STATHMOS covering an total surface of approximately 3,000 sq.m., while archaeological investigation has been carried out along the alignment of the Metro Line (9.6 km) and several interesting archaeological finds have come to light. Gradually, concurrently with the development of the worksite areas of the Contracting Consortium the relevant archaeological investigation/excavation at all the Thessaloniki Metro projects fronts will be carried out by the Departments of Antiquities involved.
ATTIKO METRO S.A., in co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, is about to exhibit the most important archaeological finds of the project at specially configured central stations of the Metro network. Therefore, the benefit from the construction of the Thessaloniki Metro will be doubled: better transport services provided by the most reliable means of public transport and invaluable knowledge of our cultural heritage.