Pella or Tabaqat Fahl (طبقة فحل)


Location: 130 km North of Amman Map


History of Pella

For the first time, the name of Pella was sounded by Herodotus when describing the campaign of the Persian king Xerxes to Greece in 480 BC.; Herodotus called Pella a city located in the region of Bottia, inhabited by the Bottia tribe.

Stefan from Byzantium in his geographical treatise remarked: before Pella in Macedonia was called Bounomos or Bounomeya. During the reign of the Macedonian king Alexander I (498–454 BC), the lands of Macedonia rapidly expanded to the north and east due to the crowding out and absorption of the Thracian and other tribes. Under the son of Alexander I, King Perdiccas II, Pella was already part of Macedonia, and the Bottia tribe moved to the Halkidiki Peninsula. When the Thracian king Sithalk invaded Macedonia in the 2nd half of the 5th century BC. e., the Macedonians took refuge in a few fortresses, making partisan attacks against the enemy. Perhaps it was then that Perdiccas II decided to make Pella, located in a sheltered place, almost in the center of Ematia, its capital.

It is not known who exactly and when he transferred the capital of Macedonia from the sacred Aegs to Pella, but at least the son of Perdiccas, the Macedonian king Archelaus (413-399 BC) built a magnificent palace there, for the painting of which he invited a famous Greek artist Zeusxis. Euripides was buried here.

At the beginning of the IV century BC. Pella became the largest city of Macedonia, the place where its kings lived, although the former capital of Aigu continued to carry out ritual functions. The Macedonians at that time called the cities relatively small fortresses, and they themselves, unlike the rest of the Greeks, lived mainly in rural areas. The heyday of Pella, judging by archaeological finds, occurred at the end of the IV century BC. e., under the successors of Alexander the Great. After the accession to the throne, the great conqueror himself spent several months in Macedonia.

The only description of the city in the II century BC. left by Titus Livy:

“The consul with all the troops left Pidna, the next day he was at Pella and set up a camp a mile from the city, stood there for several days, considering the location of the city from all sides, and was convinced that the kings of Macedonia had settled here for nothing: Pella stands on a hill looking at at winter sunset; swamps around it, impassable either in summer or in winter, are spilled by rivers. Fakos Fortress rises like an island among the marshes in the place where they come closest to the city; she stands on a huge embankment that can withstand the gravity of the walls and not suffer from the moisture of the swamps that encircle it. From a distance it seems that the fortress is connected to the wall of the city, although in fact they are separated by a moat with water, and connects the bridge so that the enemy would not come near, and any captive imprisoned by the king could not escape otherwise than through the bridge, which is easier just guard. There, in the fortress, there was a royal treasury ... "


After the Roman conquest of Macedonia in the II century BC. e. Pella for some time remained the center of one of the four administrative districts into which the Romans divided Macedonia, but then the center was moved to the more conveniently located city of Thessaloniki, and the former capital of the Macedonian kings was abandoned. In 180, Lucian called Pella a small town with a small number of inhabitants.

The fortress among the swamps could not stand the test of peacetime. At the beginning of the 1st century BC e. an earthquake destroyed the city. In 30 BC e. during the reign of Augustus, a Roman colony was founded west of the ruined city on the site of the modern village of Nea Pela. In the early Christian period, there existed a city identified with the mentioned Procopius of Caesarea fortification "Basilica of Aminta" ("Βασιλικά Αμύντου"), restored by Justinian I (527-565). Natural changes in the landscape also contributed to the oblivion of Pella. Pella was founded as a port on the shores of Thermaikos Gulf. The huge amount of alluvium carried by rivers (mainly the Aksios (Vardar) and Alyakmon rivers), as a result of long-term accumulation (accumulation) in the shallow Gulf of Thermaikos formed the vast Thessaloniki plain. Pella became a port on Lake Janice and had access to the Aegean Sea through the Ludias River. In the years 1928-1932 the lake was dried up. Currently, Pell is separated from the sea by approximately 30 kilometers of land.