The Kastoria city of Western Macedonia in Greece is known for its churches.Historically, the city has been ruled by many entities, including the Serbian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The amount of Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches proves the development and richness of the city through the different ages.
Panagia Koumpelidiki is one of the oldest churches in the town. Many opinions exist on the age of the church. While all dating efforts until today have failed, archaeologists managed to define a timeframe within which the church was built. Based on this time frame, the church is placed between the 9th and 11th century. The church is a Triconch Temple, located in the acropolis of Kastoria, inside the Justinian Walls, and is the only one in town with a dome, from which it took its name (from the Turkish word kubbe, meaning dome). The original interior decoration dates back to the period 1260-1280. Two more layers of wall paintings followed, one in the 15th and one in the 17th century. The external wall painting are placed in 1496. In the arch of the inner narthex stands the most remarkable and rare piece of wall painting, the depiction of the Holly Trinity. This mural reflects the doctrine of the Catholic Church, according to which the Holy Spirit proceeds ‘from Father and Son’, a fact that leads us to conclude that the painter was directly connected with the Western Church and deeply influenced by it . In 1940, the church was bombed by the Italian forces, leading to the destruction of the dome.
The many small churches in the town of Kastoria in northwest Greece are widely appreciated for their pic turesque qualities. Although they are often cited briefly in architectural and art-historical surveys, only two of these chapels have received detailed attention. In both cases, this closer scrutiny was devoted primarily to their fresco decorations. As a consequence, there is no unanimity in the dating of these buildings despite the relative wealth of material that might be marshalled for the purpose. Generally the monuments are ascribed to the first half of the eleventh century, though both earlier and later dates have been suggested by various scholars. In this paper, I should like, first, to offer an argument for the dates of these monuments and, second, to outline the historical and social implications of this suggested chronology. The churches of Kastoria that are discussed in this piece include the Koubelidiki, a domed triconch; Hagios Stephanos, the Taxiarchs near the Metropolis, and the Hagioi Anargyroi (Ss. Cosmas and Damian), all barrel vaulted basilicas; and Hagios Nikolaos tou Kasnitzi, a single-naved, wooden-roofed structure. The dates of these churches cannot be established through comparative analysis of their architecture alone. Evidence provided by both the structure and the fresco cycles of these monuments must be brought to bear on the problem of their chronology, absolute and relative, if it is to be resolved.
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