Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki

Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki

Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki which can be found among large buildings are places of interest.

  • The St. Demetrius (Agios Demetrios) church is dedicated to the patron saint of Salonika (7th century and later). Saint Demetrius died martyr’s death in 303 or 305. The church was built on the place of his martyrdom. The church was burnt down twice: in 629 or 634 and again in the great fire of 1917. In 1492 it was converted into a mosque named. Restoration of the church after the fire was undertaken in 1926 and was completed in 1948. Now the monument is a five-aisled basilica, with a narthex and a transept. Few fragments of the sculptural and pictorial (mosaics, wall paintings) decoration of the church survived the in the fire of 1917. There are relicts of Saint Demetrius in the church.
Saint Demetrius church in Thessaloniki.Saint Demetrius church in Thessaloniki.
  • Agia Sofia Church – the metropolitan Holy Wisdom (Agia Sophia) church was built in the 5th century AD. During a long Turkish occupation the church was transformed into a mosque, probably in 1524. In 1912, after the liberation of the city, it was restored to the Christian church. Several parts of the interior pictorial decoration are preserved: mosaics on the dome and the sanctuary, dated to the 8th to 12th centuries, and wall paintings of the 11th century, in the narthex. What dominates the dome is the marvellous mosaic of Christ’s Ascension, while over the temple there is one more mosaic depicting the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ in her arms.
Agia Sofia Church in ThessalonikiAgia Sofia Church in Thessaloniki.
Agia Sofia Church in ThessalonikiAgia Sofia Church in Thessaloniki.
Agia Sofia Church in ThessalonikiAgia Sofia Church in Thessaloniki.
  • Panagia Chalkeon Church (Virgin of the Copper Workers) in Thessaloniki dates from the 11th century and was founded in 1028 by Christophoros of Lombardy. During the Ottoman occupation, from 1430 to 1912 it was used as a mosque. Inside is a nearly complete cycle of 11th-century Byzantine frescoes. The church is located opposite Aristotelus square.
  • Church of the Panagia Ahiropiitos (5th century) – is the oldest church. It was built in the period of the reign of Emperor Theodosius. The name means “made without hands”. On the inside of the arches and colonnades on the preserved mosaics, which on a gold background depicts the flora and fauna .On the southern slope of the colonnade frescoes beginning of the XIII century , which show up to the waist or a full-length forty martyrs of Sebaste . The frescoes visible traces of the devastation caused by them during the period of Turkish rule.

All above mentioned churches are included in the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO.

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