The entrance of the sanctuary

The sanctuary was never walled; instead deep ravines sharply divided the secular and sacred areas. The sanctuary was entered by crossing the ravine through a monumental gateway, the Propylon of Ptolemy II (no. 26).

The propylon of Ptolemy II, the south and east sides of the foundations seen from the west

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The cult buildings

The Samothrace sanctuary was famous throughout antiquity. It consisted of a cluster of buildings dedicated to the worship of the Great Gods and the mystery cults. The most ancient edifices, used for the worship of the Great Gods and mystery ceremonies, were located in the lower part of the temple complex.

The Hall of Choral Dancers (n°17), in the middle of this area of the sanctuary, was the largest marble edifice.

Frieze block depicting dancing maidens, Archaeological Museum, Samothrace

Just behind it stood the second largest edifice, the Hieron (n°15).

The Hieron

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The buildings commissioned by pilgrims

In the 4th century BC, the kings of Macedonia oversaw the enlargement and further decoration of the cult edifices, which now took up all the available space in the heart of the sanctuary.

More space was created on two sites overlooking this area, a monumental entrance was constructed to the east, and edifices were built by wealthy pilgrims around a long stoa (portico) on top of the west hill (no. 11).

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The Victory precinct (no. 12)

The Victory monument was installed in the highest and most remote part of the sanctuary, on a flat area dug out of the hillside at the end of a long stoa (portico) (no. 11).

All that remains of the monument’s architectural setting is its foundations, protected by recently restored retaining walls and partly littered with boulders.

According to the layout of these foundations, the Victory monument was placed not perpendicular to the back wall of the precinct but at a slight angle. Visitors arriving from the stoa thus had a three-quarter left view of the statue.

The Victory precinct

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