It’s become something of a cliché – a sad one at that – but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s much more to Egypt than Ancient Egyptian antiquities. Granted, the Zabaleen area of Mokattam receives its fare share of attention for its sheer uniqueness, but one particular feature often goes unnoticed – St. Samaan Church.
The church is named after Samaan Al Kharaz (Simon the Ranner), who, according to the tradition, performed a miracle in moving the mountain to help Abraam – Pope of the Egyptian Church – prove his faith to a Jewish grand vizier. The areas of the mountain around the church also feature a number of carvings. These carvings were done by a Polish artist in 1995 and was commissioned by the church’s founder, Samaan Ibrahim. In addition to the church itself – which can seat up to 1000 people – the monastery also include a library, children’s playground and a cafeteria.
The Temple Mount, a massive masonry platform occupying the south-east corner of Jerusalem’s Old City, has hallowed connections for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
All three of these Abrahamic faiths regard it as the location of Mount Moriah, where Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac (or Ishmael in the Muslim tradition) to God.
For Jews, it is where their Temple once stood, housing the Ark of the Covenant. Now, for fear of stepping on the site of the Holy of Holies, orthodox Jews do not ascend to the Temple Mount. Instead, they worship at its Western Wall while they hope for a rebuilt Temple to rise with the coming of their long-awaited Messiah.
For Christians, the Temple featured prominently in the life of Jesus. Here he was presented as a baby. Here as a 12-year-old he was found among the teachers after the annual Passover pilgrimage.
For Muslims, the Temple Mount is al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It is Islam’s third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina, and the whole area is regarded as a mosque.
Located in the village of Geroskipou, this interesting 9th century Byzantine church is a five-domed, three-aisled, barrel-vaulted basilica, making it one of only two such churches on the whole island, and a significant example of Byzantine architecture.
The beautiful interior wall paintings date to various periods, from the 8th-15th centuries. A monochrome reddish cross, painted directly on the stone, is of an earlier type and was revealed during restoration works. This type of cross is usually dated to the Early Christian period, up until the 8th-9th century.
Apart from its frescoes, the church also contains a rather significant portable, double-sided icon, dating to the 15th century. The Virgin Mary is depicted on one side, and the scene of the Crucifixion on the other.
According to tradition, the name Geroskipou (‘sacred garden’ in Greek) derives from the sacred gardens of the Goddess Aphrodite, which were located to the south of the village towards the sea, at the point where the ancient pilgrims began their journey to the sanctuary of Palaipafos (old Pafos). As such, the church may stand on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Aphrodite, although it could also originally have been dedicated to Timios Stavros (the Holy Cross). Today, it is dedicated to the Christian martyr Agia Paraskevi.
The magnificent Lefkara Church is dedicated to the Holy Cross and dates back to the 14th century. According to the byzantinologist Athanasios Papageorgiou, the eastern part of the Church dates back to the 14th century, named after considering rescued frescoes behind the church’s iconostasis. This date is also confirmed by the metrical “Olivianos’ inscription”, which appears at the bottom of the Lefkara Golden Cross. There is written evidence that Olivianos was a Lefkara Bishop in 1307 during the occupation period by the Franks. This fact is also confirmed undeniably by the founder’s note on a manuscript dating back to the 14th century, which is kept in the Church’s safe. At the end of this manuscript, which is a precious Evangeliary it is noted that it was written in 1345/46 and that the monk Gabriel who was the abbot and the founder of the “Holy and Life-giver Revealed Cross” monastery paid all the expenses. In 1740 the church was restored and the wooden sculptured iconostasis was then made by the Rhodian sculptor Hadjikyriacos who was called in by the church-warden Lourentzos to this end.
n 1867 important works were carried out in the church and it was, therefore, expanded in order to have a greater congregation capacity. In 1909 common repair works in the church were deemed necessary and then the entrance was constructed as it appears today. The south door was also built. In 1953 the dome was covered with paintings. The style of the eastern part of the church is cruciform with a cupola, while the style of its more recent part is Cypriot dating back to the 19th century. Furthermore, there are six internal pillars ranged in two rows per three pillars.
The Byzantine Museum at the church of Agios Lazaros (Saint Lazarus) is housed in some of the cells of the hypostyle porch that still stand to its south. The museum’s exhibits include important religious icons, artefacts and relics, including Byzantine icons, gospels, crosses and other ecclesiastical treasures from the whole district of Larnaka.
Conservation works to the Archangelos Michael Church in Turkish occupied Lefkoniko have been completed. On the October 12, a project completion ceremony of consolidation and conservation works will take place, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have announced.
Archangelos Michael Church was included as a conservation project among the very first priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in 2009 together with Arnavut Mosque in Limassol in recognition of the importance of both monuments.
In the verdant valley of Vlamari at approximately 2 km. from the town of Samos stands the monastery of Agia Zoni (Cincture of Virgin Mary), built in 1695. Inside the monastery one will find frescoes preserved from the 17th century and a remarkable library with patriarchal documents and precious objects.
St. Polycarp Church is the oldest structure of İzmir which is founded in the area where Konak District is located on the Mediterranean Side, Kazim Dirik Caddesi, Necatibey Boulevard and Gazi Osman Money Boulevard.
Süleymaniye Mosque built on top of the third hill of historical Istanbul is one of the biggest mosques of the city.
The truly staggering size of the Süleymaniye Camii (Suleymaniye Mosque) is one of its most distinctive features – built by the legendary architect, Mimar Sinan, it is known as one of his masterpieces, and his largest design. It is not just the awe-inspiring size that is impressive (the central dome stands 47m high), but also the elegantly decorated interior. The sense of space and light is emphasized the supporting semi-domes to the northwest and southeast and the monumental arched spaces to the southwest and northeast.
Panagia Eikonistria is the most holy site of the island since the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary (Panagia) was found here around 1650. An important intellectual figure of the island and of the Church, Dionysios the Old, was a monk in this monastery.
The Panaghia (Virgin) Chalkeon (1028), Hosios David (12th century), St Panteleemon (late 13th or the early 14th century), is of four-columned cross-in-square type, Ayioi Apostoloi (1310-1314),Taxiarches (14th century), Panagouda a three-aisled basilica with significant icons, Agios Ioannis Prodromos (Nymphaion),Vlatadon monastery a 14th century foundation of which only the katholikon and two cisterns within the precinct survive, Ayios Demetrios a splendid basilica dedicated to the patron saint and protector of the city, etc.
The Holy Trinity Church and especially its tall belfry have become a symbol of Bansko as one of the most attractive mountain resorts, successfully combining the charm of its rich historical past and its picturesque location at the foot of the mighty Pirin Mountain with the most modern facilities for recreation – a wide choice of reputable hotels for all tastes and budgets, one of the best ski zone in South-East Europe.
The Church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. Its inauguration was made in 1835. The architectural plan of the church is a three-nave basilica or more exactly a pseudo-basilica with 44 m length, 22 m width and 12 m height. The walls are 1.1 m thick and entirely constructed of local ashlar, welded together by mortar. Large wooden beams of centuries old white fir (typical for the region) are used in the foundation and for leveling the walls. Part of the church is sunken under the ground level in order to look smaller from the outside and Turks can not get an idea about its real size. The altar piece is set within a skillfully constructed and decorated apse in the form of the half of a 18-angle prism with a remarkable stone cornice on the exterior. The roof is hold in the interior of the church by 12 massive wooden columns of white fir, symbolizing the 12 apostles.
The cathedral in Varna is one of the symbols of the city. It is situated on “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” square in the center of Varna. The view from the belfry towards the city is splendid, but you have to overcome the 133 stairs of the narrow caracol.
The first stone upon the construction of the temple was placed by Prince Alexander I of Battenberg (1857 - 1893) in 1880. After the consecration, the prince reprieved all the prisoners from the Varna prison, for which three months of their sentences were remaining. The name that was chosen, The Assumption of Holy Mother, was to the memory of the Russian Empress Maria Alexanrovna, benefactor of Bulgaria and aunt of the Prince.
The foundations were laid by the project of the Odessus architect Maas, and the building itself is constructed according to the project of the municipal architect P. Kupka. The financing of the construction was relied on mainly by the donors. Additionally, a lottery with 150 000 tickets of BGN 2 each was conducted, as the tickets were sold in the country and abroad.
The Holy Forty Martyrs church was built and decorated with murals by the will of the Bulgarian tzar Ivan Asen II, to commemorate his victory over the king of the Epirus kingdom Theodor Comnenus in 1230. In the middle of the XIII century, around the church was erected the royal monastery of the Great Laurel. The church became a centre of a series of important events and its nave comprises the most significant tokens of the Bulgarian history – the columns of khan Omurtag (815 – 831), of khan Krum (803-814) and of Ivan Asen II with inscriptions on them. During archeological researches were unearthed the tombs of significant medieval persons. The biggest interest drew the grave the Bulgarian king Kaloyan, who was assassinated during the siege of Thessaloniki in 1207. After his death his body was solemnly carried to capital, where he was buried with honours. In the church were also the graves of one of the greatest Bulgaria’s rulers – Ivan Asen II and his wife Anna – Maria. The church was the place where the relics of St. Sava of Serbia and St. Ilarion of Muglen were kept. Consequently the body of St. Sava was transferred to Serbia but his grave is still an attractive point for pilgrims. One of the most important events held in the church was the pronouncing of the Bulgarian independence on the 22nd of September, 1908.
Set amidst lush verdure where the River Crn Drim tumbles into the lake, the monastery of St. Naum is a refuge of tranquillity at the very southwestern corner of the Macedonian Republic. Situated 29 km (18 m) from the town of Ohrid and only 1 kilometre (0.6 m) from the Albanian border, the monastery brings the Macedonian experience to a dramatic culmination.
As with most Byzantine churches, St. Naum was chosen primarily for its location – on a high, rocky outcropping over the lake, above deep forests and life-giving springs of the river Crn Drim. The monastic complex and church of St. Naum was built originally at the turn of the tenth century by the monk that bore the same name; Macedonians believe you can still hear the saint’s heartbeat by pressing an ear to his stone coffin inside the church.
The monastery has been renewed and enlarged several times over the centuries. While most of its iconostases and frescoes date from the 16th and 17th century, earlier etchings in the Byzantine Greek vernacular also remain. But numerous orthographical mistakes indicate that they were written by Slavic-speaking local monks. Other inscriptions in the church make up some of the oldest epigraphic evidence of Slavic literacy.
The icons of St. Naum are some of the best religious painting achievements in the Balkans. They date from the first half of the 18th century. The wood-carved iconostasis itself was made in 1711 by an unknown artisan.
A peculiar element of St. Naum is located not on the inside of the church but on the outside: the preponderance of multi-coloured peacocks strutting around and luxuriating in the grass.
The church of St. Sofia is one of the largest medieval churches on this territory. For a long time, it was the cathedral church ("Great Church") of the Ohrid Archiepiscopate whose ecclesiastical authority covered the territories up to the river Danube to the north, the Albanian coast to the west, and the Bay of Thessalonica to the east. The church was probably used as a cathedral way back in the past, in the period of the Car Samuel who, in the late X century, moved his throne from Prespa to Ohrid. The other assumption is that there used to be another church on the same site during the reign of the Macedonian Czar Samuel and that later on this church was ruined for unknown reasons. The date of the construction of that church is uncertain because there are no inscriptions that help reveal it. It is also mentioned that today's church was either built or restored during the period of the Archbishop Leo who was on the throne of the Church in the period between 1035-1056. His esteemed ecclesiastical principle became a donor of the painting decorations in the church of St. Sofia. The original church had only one main dome. In the XIV century, an opulent external narthex was constructed. Its original shape was a three-naval basilica with a transept, a dome, and galleries on the side naves. It had a parvis and separate chapels above the northern and southern altar sections even in XI century. Almost three centuries later, during the period of the Archbishop Gregorius, a new parvis was built. It represents the climax of the Macedonian XIV-century culture. The concept of the extended parvis was horizontal, with a portico on the ground, and galleries on the first floor. Above the Gregorious Gallery, on the northern and southern sides, there were separate sections with towers. With the arrival of the Turks, the church St. Sofia was converted into a mosque. They "took care" to reshape the church almost entirely so that it could serve the Muslim religion. The frescoes were whitewashed, the ornamented plates from the iconostasis were used for constructing the internal staircase, and a minaret was built above the northwest dome. These undertakings distorted the structure of the entire church. In the period from 1950 to 1957 extensive conservatory and restoration activities were performed. The frescoes were cleaned and conserved, and also some reconstruction work was done. The fresco paintings in the church are amongst the highest achievements in medieval painting in Macedonia and even wider. At that time Ohrid was under the direct authority of the Constantinople Patriarchate, so these are the most important preserved works of Byzantine monumental painting. The donor of the fresco paintings, one of the most learned men of the time, Archbishop Leo, directly influenced the selection of the compositions painted in the XI century.
One of the most magnificent churches in all of Macedonia stands right above a small fishing settlement, on a cliff rising up from Lake Ohrid; St. Jovan Kaneo is a combination of Byzantine and Armenian architectural styles.
Built in the honour of St. John the Theologian, St. Kaneo with its sublime atmosphere and views of the placid lake below, remains an inspiring place for spiritual contemplation. The church which was consecrated at the end of the 13th century was built on a rectangular stone base. Its exterior is decorated with ceramic decorative sculptures and stone carvings. Though the fresco painters are unknown, the fragments that have been preserved are of exceptional quality; the Communion of the Apostles and the portraits of St. Clement, St. Erasmus and Constantine Kavasilas especially stand out.
Being as it is - an extraordinarily unique construction - St. Kaneo is indeed one of the most beautiful churches in Macedonia as well as in the whole Balkan region.
The oldest and best preserved monument of architecture since Roman times in Sofia is the rotunda church St. George. It was built in the beginning of the 4th century AD and, was considered, during the reign of the roman emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306 – 337) and the flourishing of the ancient town Serdika (the old name of Sofia). It is believed that the rotunda is the oldest building in Sofia.
The temple is situated in the courtyard of the Government Office, just a couple of meters of the remains of the ancient fortress Serdika. It is a cylindrical domed structure, built on a square base. Its width is about 9.5 meters in diameter and its height is about 14 meters. The altar room has a square form and four symmetrically placed niches. The main entrance is at the western wall.
Originally the building was used for public purposes. After the recognition of Christianity as a religion in the Roman Empire, the rotunda became a baptistery (a building for conversion to Christianity), due to the many conversions, following the authorization of this religion.
The Armenian Church of Constanta is dedicated to "Saint Mary" and is situated on the seashore, near the Greek Church,on Callatis street. Less known by tourists, perhaps because the building stands out through a spectacular architecture, theArmenian Church embodies Armenian people living on Doborogea area is a important poin on the multiculturalism map of Constanta.
Tirana’s Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral is not just a Cathedral. It is the third-largest such structure in the Balkans and is located close to the centre of Tirana. The construction of the building, south-west of Tirana Centre Plaza, was completed in 2012.
The cathedral complex comprises the cathedral itself, the chapel of the Nativity, bell tower, the residence of the Holy Synod, cultural centre, a library, two other chapels and a small museum. The cathedral's dome reaches 32.2 metres above ground, with the bell tower reaching 46 metres. Following its construction the cathedral has become a major tourism attraction in Tirana
The Cathedral of Saint Joseph is the most important Roman Catholic Church in Bucharest serving, at the same time, as cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archbishopric in Bucharest and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church in Romania. The crucial role of this place of worship in the religious life of the community of Roman Catholic believers in Bucharest and nationwide alike is, thus, understandable.
Built between 1873 and 1884 (the construction works took so long because of the War of Independence in 1877), the cathedral is an architectural monument erected by following the design of Friedrich Schmidt, combining elements typical of the Roman style with discreet Gothic touches. The inner highlights of the cathedral refer to the main white Carrara marble altar (built in Rome by following the designs of the same Friedrich Schmidt), to an impressive organ (the present organ was built in 1930 in order to replace the original 1892 Parisian organ) said to be one of the best in the country, to the Parisian chandelier, to the decorative pictorial works by Georg Roder and Fr. Elsner, as well as to the decorative plasterwork on the walls, columns and pillars.
In the centre of the Tulcea, at the intersection of Frumoasa Street, Babadag Street and Progresului Street you can find Saint Nicolas Church, the Cathedral of Tulcea. Made of stone and brick, the building is 30 metres tall, in Byzantine style with three towers: two in front and the third (the largest one) is situated in the middle.
The Cosuna – Bucovatu Vechi Monastery is an orthodox monastery situated in Craiova, Dolj county. It is the oldest religious edifice from the city of Craiova, being built in 1483. The Monastery`s church was built between 1506 – 1512 and the actual church in 1572, by the Boyar Stephan and his son.
The cathedral of Asmara was build in 1922 in the Lombard-Roma-
nesque style. Its tall Gothic bell tower is visible from everywhere in
the city and is a useful landmark if you ever lose your sense of di-
rection. The cathedral, as well as the primary school, the monaste-
ry and the nunnery, are in the same compound and can be visited.
The Old Synagogue in Dubrovnik, Croatia is the oldest Sefardic synagogue still in use today in the world and the second oldest synagogue in Europe. It is said to have been established in 1352 but gained legal status in the city in 1408. Owned by the local Jewish community, the main floor still functions as a place of worship for Holy days and special occasions, but is now mainly a city museum which hosts numerous Jewish ritual items and centuriesold artefacts.
Located in one of the many tiny streets of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, it is connected to a neighbouring building which has long been owned by the Tolentino family, who have been caretakers of the synagogue for centuries. The internal layout is different from other European synagogues and has gone numerous refurbishments throughout the centuries, and has a mixture of designs from different eras. The building has sustained damage several times, with the great earthquake in 1667, World War II, and the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s. The damage has since been repaired as closely as possible to its original design, and the synagogue reopened in 1997. The small museum contains many artifacts from throughout the Jewish community’s history in the city.
The Franciscan Church and Monastery is a large complex belonging to the Order of the Friars Minor. It consists of a monastery, a church, a library and a pharmacy. It is situated at the Placa, the main street of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Church and bell tower of the Franciscan church The earliest monastery was built in the 13th century outside the walls. A new monastery inside the walls and close to the Pile Gate, was built in 1317, but its construction took centuries. Parts of the complex were rebuilt several times. The church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1667. Amongst the losses was a statue by Pietro di Martino da Milano. The only element remaining is the decorated portal overlooking the beginning of the Placa, the main street of Dubrovnik. It was sculpted in 1498 in Gothic style by the workshop of the brothers Leonard and Petar Petroviċ. The almost life-sized Pietà in the central lunette, decorated with flamboyant leaves, is flanked by the figures of St. Jerome (holding a model of the pre-earthquake church) and St. John the Baptist. On top of the lunette stands the figure of the Father Creator. The interior of the church was reconstructed in Baroque style with a single nave. The marble pulpit survived the earthquake of 1667. The main altar with the statue of the resurrected Christ between four twisted marble columns was created by the sculptor Celia from Ancona in 1713. The five side altars were sculpted by the Venetian Giuseppe Sardi between 1684 and 1696. The decorations on the altar of St. Francis were painted in 1888 by the painter Celestin Medovic. The poet Ivan Gundulić is buried in this church. The monastery was built in 1360 in late Romanesque style by the master Mihoje Brajkov of Bar.
Borzesti is the village (currently, is a neighbourhood of the city Onesti) from Bacau, where Stephen the Great was born and raised.
He founded together with his eldest son Alexandru (1464-1496), the church "Assumption". It was built between July 9, 1493, of October 12, 1494.
Legend says that the church was dedicated to a child killed during the invasions of the Tatars.
The church is designed in a Moldavian style, just like the Razboieni Church and the Piatra Neamt Church (1497–1498).
The Evangelic Church is one of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu. It was raised in the 14th century on the location of an old Roman church dating from the 12th century. The building is dominated by the seven level tower with the four towers on the corners, a mark showing that the city had the right of condemnation. With a height of 73.34 meters, the tower is the tallest in Transylvania.