Sunday 23 October 2016

The Church of Panagia Acheropoietos

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TThessaloniki Acheropoiitos Church H Dated back to 452 A.D., Panagia Acheropoietos is arguably one of the oldest surviving Christian temples of Greece.

The name of the church is due to an ancient Christian tradition according to which the icon of Virgin Mary was believed to be made by divine, not human hands.

Being a three-aisled basilica with a wooden roof, it is a beautiful sample of Paleo-Christian byzantine architecture.The eastern part is leading to a semi-circular vault, while next to the existing west “narthex”, several architectural elements are witnessing the existence of an additional “exonarthex” also located on the west side of the structure.

Byzantine magnificence and beauty

As the original interior decoration was impressively rich and delicate, the surviving parts include fragments of the 5th century decorative mosaics and frescoes. The elaborate traditional “acanthus” – leaf decorations that the Byzantines loved so much, are also present to the Corinthian marble columns.

ThThessaloniki Acheropoiitos Church C While several modifications were made to the main building during the 7th – 8th and 14th – 15th centuries, the following restorations and renovations were not as extensive as the ones applied to Agia Sofia and Agios Dimitrios. For this reason several critical characteristics remain intact at a certain degree.

Panagia Acheiropoeitos was also converted into a mosque during the 15th century, suffering some damages on the interior of the building. Sultan Murat II himself visited the church and inscribed on a marble column on the west side of the temple a phrase that can be easily read until today; “Sultan Murat Conquered Thessaloniki in 833” {1430}.

Whether we are experienced travelers or not, we can easily spot the church of Acheiropoieitos, as it is next to “Egnatia” avenue, on “Agia Sofia” Street, West of Galerius Arch and Rotunda.

Address: Agias Sofias St. 56, 54635 (City Center)
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 12:00 and 17:00 to 19:00
Telephone: 2310 272 820
Rules: No shorts or sleeveless shirts


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