Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Via Adriatica

Medieval churches in Arta

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Medieval churches in Arta

About the site

Corridor: Via Adriatica
Country: Greece, Arta
Type: Christian religious centre
Epoch: Middle Ages
World Heritage:
Middle AgesChristian religious centre

In the ancient town of Arta two unique Medieval churches can be seen. These are the Agios Vassilis (St Basil) basilica and the Church of Paregoretissa (Our Lady of Consolation).

The Church of St Basil is a single-aisled basilica with two conched chapels, the south dedicated to St. Gregory and the north to St. John Chrysostomos. The walls are lavishly decorated on the outside with patterns in brick and tile. Two glazed clay icons were preserved on the pediment of the east side; the first depicts the three Hierarchs and the second the Crucifixion. They are exhibited now in the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina. The interior is decorated with wall paintings dated to the 17th century.
The church is located in the old quarter of the Tourkopazaro, in Arta. It was built at the end of the 14th century AD. During the 17th century, the "Greek School" of the scholar Castorianos Manolakis was established in its precinct. The first scholars to mention the church of St. Bazil in modern times are the Russian archimandrite Antoninos in 1886 and the metropolitan bishop Serapheim in 1884.
In 1979 the frescoes were cleaned and restored, in 1980 the roof was repaired and the masonry was consolidated. In 1991 the roof was reconstructed, and in 1994 the electrical installation was completed.
Today the monument is used as a church but liturgy takes place only on the day of its patron saint.
The Church of Paragoretissa (Our Lady of Consolation) belongs to the octagonal, cross-in-square type. As seen from outside it is a rectangular, almost cubic building but the interior is extremely elegant and lavishly decorated with wall paintings and sculptures. The mosaic representation of Christ Pantocrator surrounded by Prophets is preserved on the dome, and wall paintings made by the painter Ananias, dated to the 16th century, have survived inside the sanctuary. Fragments of various other wall paintings, dating from the 17th century, can be seen in the naos.
The church was built in the 13th century, during the reign of the dynasty of Comnenos Doukas, and became the metochion (dependence) of the Kato Panaghia monastery, when it went bankrupt. It is mentioned for the first time as a convent for nuns in a sigillium (decree) of Patriarch Jeremiah II, dating from 1578.
In the last five years, excavations have been carried out in the precinct of the church.

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