In antiquity, Pella was a port connected to the Thermaic Gulf by a navigable inlet, but the harbor has silted, leaving the site landlocked.
Archaeological digs in progress since 1957 have uncovered a small part of the city, which was made rich by Alexander and his heirs. The large agora or market, was surrounded by the shaded colonnades of stoas, and streets of enclosed houses with frescoed walls round inner courtyards. The first trompe-l'oeil wall murals imitating perspective views ever seen were on walls at Pella. There are temples to Aphrodite, Demeter and Cybele, and Pella's pebble-mosaic floors, dating after the lifetime of Alexander, are famous: some reproduce Greek paintings; one shows a lion-griffin attacking a stag, a familiar motif also of Scythian art, another depicts Dionysus riding a leopard.
The famous poet Aratus died in Pella circa 240 BCE. Pella was sacked by the Romans in 168 BCE, when its treasury was transported to Rome. It was then destroyed by earthquake in the 1st century BC; shops and workshops dating from the catastrophe have been found with remains of their merchandise. The city was rebuilt over its ruins, which preserved them.
See also: Thessaloniki