The Sanctuary of the Great Gods
Undoubtedly, the most important archaeological site of Samothrace is the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, located next to the
The Sanctuary of the Great Gods stands on an area of approximately 50 acres and includes a series of buildings that testify to its importance during, mainly, the Classical and Hellenistic periods.
We see the Palace, which was the site of the first stage of initiation in the Cabeiri Mysteries, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, where the second stage took place, the Stoa created to accommodate the guests of the Mysteries and the Sacred Circle, the area where the viewers watched the initiation or other events.
At the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, however, you can also see the Tholos of Arsinoi, the largest circular building still preserved, which was a dedication by Queen Arsinoi of Thrace to the Great Gods, the Temenos which was the earliest and largest marble building of the site, the Altar, the Neorio, the Propylo of Ptolemy II, the Sacred Rock, the Offering of Philip III and Alexander IV, the Doric Tholos, the building of the Orthostates, the Sacred House, the Hall of Votive Offerings, the Theatre and the Offering of Milisia.
But what stands out in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods and made Samothrace famous worldwide is the Monument of Nike, the Krini, on which marble slabs with an undulating surface supported the marble bow of the ship that beared the famous statue of , one of the most important exhibits of the Louvre, in Paris.
Mysteries of the Cabeiri
A paved path leads us to the heart of the rites of the Mysteries of the Cabeiri, the Mysteries of the Great Gods as they are also called. The rituals took place at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods during the periods of the Greek and Roman antiquity, and it still has not been fully ascertained who exactly were the “Great Gods” worshiped here. The Mysteries of the Cabeiri were held for the initiation of the candidates into the worship of their gods, otherwise called “Cabeiri”.