A sightseeing tour open to all conference participants is organized on Sunday 18th of November 2012, one day prior to the technical conference, and is free of charge. The tour involves a visit to the museum and archaeological site of Vergina (the first ancient capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia) and also a tour of the major ancient and Byzantine sites in Thessaloniki.
The tour will start in the morning with the archeological museum of Vergina (75km from Thessaloniki) which is located right on the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus of Vergina which were brought to life in 1977 by prof. M. Andronicos. The most remarkable of these was the tomb of Philip II (359-336 B.C.), father of Alexander the Great, and its discovery is considered to be one of the most important archaeological events of the century.
See related video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eXFkXQTsYw&feature=related)
Upon the return to Thessaloniki, the participants will visit the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, dating from a time when Thessaloniki was the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988. Nearby the participants will also visit the Arch of Galerius or Kamara and the Rotunda which are neighboring early 4th-century monuments in the city of Thessaloniki.
See related video about Saint Demetrius church: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xctvbTk8Ghw
Finally the tour will end with a visit to the White Tower of Thessaloniki, which is both a monument and a museum on the waterfront of the city of Thessaloniki. The present tower replaced an old Byzantine fortification which was mentioned around the 12th century and reconstructed by the Ottomans to fortify the city's harbor. It was substantially remodeled and its exterior was whitewashed after Greece gained control of the city in 1912, and since then it has been adopted as the symbol of the city.
See related video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTbgpSYAH9w&feature=related
All the activities of the social programme are free of charge for conference participants including transportation to/from Vergina, tickets to museums and lunch in traditional taverna of Thessaloniki.