A highly important ancient city, certainly to be identified with Aegae, the first ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedonia, spreads over the low hills in the northern slopes of' the Pierian range, between the modern villages of Palatitsia and Vergina.
This city was the most important urban centre in the region until the 4th c. BC. Here were to be found the ancestral sanctuaries of the Macedonians, and the palaces and the tombs (with their famous treasures) of the Argead dynasty, which traced its origins to the mythical hero Heracles and gave Greek history its most captivating figure, Alexander the Great.
In ancient pole of royal authority, Aegae retained the prestige of the sacred city of the dynasty even after the administrative capital was transferred to Pella in the 4th c, BC. The site was the headquarters and the scene of the activities of kings such as Alexander I (495-452 BC) and Archelaos (413-399 BC), who made his court a centre of literature and arts, attracting to it the most famous artists and intellectuals of his age; and it was here, in September 336 BC, after the murder of Philip II in the theatre of the city, that Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) was proclaimed king.
Macedonian tombs, the most outstanding of which is the tomb that probably belonged to Philipp's mother, Queen Eurydike, which has a brilliantly decorated marble throne.
Archaeologists were interested in the hills around Vergina as
early as the 1850s, knowing that the site of Aigai was in the
vicinity and suspecting that the hills were burial mounds.
Excavations began in 1861 under the French archaeologist Leon Heuzey, sponsored by the Emperor Napoleon III. Parts of the Macedonian royal palace of Palatitsa were discovered. In 1937, the University of Thessaloniki resumed the excavations.
More ruins of the ancient palace were found, but the excavations were abandoned on the outbreak of war with Italy in 1940. After the war the excavations were resumed and during the 1950s and 1960s the rest of the royal capital was uncovered.
The Greek archaeologist Andronikos became convinced that a hill called the "Great Tumulus" concealed the tombs of the Macedonian King
And the unlaundered royal tombs brought to light by the spade of Manolis Andronikos, one of which was the tomb of Philip II himself, have enriched the cultural heritage of the world with a series of brilliant works of miniature art and unique original examples of ancient Greek painting, the work of known artists.
Andronikos maintained that one of the tombs was of Philip II, and another was of Alexander IV of Macedon, son of Alexander the Great and Roxana and this has now become the firm view of archaeologists and the Greek government.
You can view our portfolio of photos at http://www.panoramio.com/user/45649/tags/Aegae-Vergina