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Cypriot churches protected by UNESCO

Today, hundreds of monuments from different parts of our planet constitute an extensive list of UNESCO World Values ​​taken under the protection of the Conventions for the Protection and Natural Heritage.

Among them are numerous monuments of Cyprus, whose unique culture has developed not only under the influence of two great cultures - Greek and Middle East, but also with the participation of the person, which stay on the island, according to scientists, is estimated ten millennia. 1135 unique monuments of past centuries, under the Law of Antiquities of Cyprus, 13 already included in the list of World Heritage Sites.

Among them are ten ancient painted churches of Cyprus, which are scattered in the wooded mountain region of Troodos. These are original village temples of the 11th - 16th centuries, with picturesque stonework, an inconspicuous apse and blind niches in the interior, bypass galleries and picturesque frescoes adorning the whole interior of the temple. Their high gable roof, lapped with flat tiles with characteristic hooks firmly attached to the wooden frame, was erected over the entire church structure, protecting the naves and chapels of the temple, its arches, and sometimes the dome from the vagaries of nature. The architectural type of these church buildings was characteristic of the difficult-to-access areas of Troodos. And it was he who for many centuries remained the main in the church architecture of Cyprus. And even after many centuries, when the financial and engineering capabilities of the church eparchies expanded, the traditions of roofing architecture were carefully preserved. Cross-domed and vaulted stone basilicas continued to be covered with additional wooden roofing, with carved ceilings, in order to save from the surprises of the weather the unique creations of Cypriot artists who decorated fresco paintings not only internal but sometimes external walls of temple buildings. And if the architecture of such churches could already be considered the established local tradition, the wall paintings of the churches give each of them its own unique appearance. It is the richness of the frescoes, their good preservation, which gives a complete picture of the Cypriot painting, combining the skill of the artists of the Constantinople school and the synthesis of Byzantine art with local traditions and trends of Western art, unites the commemorative churches of Cyprus, which today are protected by UNESCO.

Painted Cypriot churches preserved on their walls examples of monumental fresco painting, narrating the language of images of the Gospel events, which were organically supplemented by the fateful stories of the Old Testament and the faces of saints, whose merits in the formation of Christianity was unlimited. Over the murals of the churches of Cyprus in different centuries, such talented artists as Theodore Apsevdis and Philip Gul, Simeon Aksentis and the widely known Filaret from the icon painting workshop of the Monastery of St. Heraklidia, Ioannis Cornaro from Crete and Savvas Nikolaos, Josephus Churios and Motheus Kotlomosios from Mount Athos and a lot others. And although in the murals of the temples, the influence of Western art is often felt, the tradition and the aesthetics of the Byzantine canons that always dominated the masters of the Cypriot school were never overshadowed by other stylistic trends.

Among the unique world heritage monuments of church architecture, replenishing meeting spiritual values ​​of the planet and taken under protection of UNESCO included the ancient cross-domed church of St. Nicholas in Kakopetria, the Blessed Virgin Mary near Forviotissa Nikitari and the Blessed Virgin Mary in Arakiotissy Lagoudera, built in the XI century, and then, A century later, hidden under a high gable roof.

In addition to these cross-domed churches, the list of World Treasures also includes basilica temples. These include the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Poditu in Galata, the Holy Cross Agyasmati in Platanistas, the Blessed Virgin Mary Mutullas in the village of the same name, the Archangel Michael in Pedulas, the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Palekhori, the church of the Monastery of St. Lampadystis in Kalopanayotis and the dome basilica of the Holy Cross in Pelendra. These are squat, relatively small churches with blind walls and a semi-circular protruding apse with a spherical dome and bypass galleries, sometimes all along the perimeter, united under a common gable roof.

Today, scientists believe, in the highlands of Cyprus there are more than two hundred of these churches, which continue to affect the imagination of his contemporaries talent and skill Cypriot painters and architects. And of course, that these original creations still join the list of unique churches planet.


(Left) Cross-domed church of St. Nicholas in the village under the roof Kakopetria. XI century.
(Right) The Church of the Blessed Virgin Forviotissa (Asinou) near Nikitari. XI century.


(Left) Collegiate Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the village of Lagoudera Arakiotissy. XI century.
(Right) The Transfiguration of Christ Church in the village of Paleochora. XVI century.


St. Mary Church in Galata Podithou. XV.


Church of the True Cross in Agiasmati Platanistasa. XV.


St. Mary Church Mutullas in the homonymous village. XIII century.


Church of Archangel Michael in Pedoulas. XV.


Domed basilica of the Precious Cross in Pelendri. XII century.


Church in the monastery of St. Lampadistis Kalopanayotis. XI

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