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The Byzantine Church of Panagia Chalkeon

The Church of Panagia Chalkeon, (Our Lady of the Coppersmiths) splendid cruciform and dome is a masterpiece of Byzantine art, is an ornament to the city.

According to a marble inscription, over the western entrance, the monument was built in 1028. Its name could be related to the coppersmiths’ workshops that were found in the vicinity. Same can still be found to the west of the monument.

Architecturally, the church, which follows faithfully the architectural tradition of Constantinople, belongs to the type of four-columned cross-in-square church with a dome.

Of particular interest are the external parts of the church, with the successive carved arches and apses, conches and semi-circular columns, as it is usual in the monuments of Constantinople. The church is built exclusively by bricks, something that indicates that it is a rather expensive construction.

There are some Christological scenes at the main church (Nativity, Hypapante, Adoration of the Magi, Pentecost) and functional at the bema, where there is the Platytera praying. However, they are the most important wall paintings as a whole, which according to the inscription is identified with the foundation of the church.

After the occupation of Thessaloniki by the Ottomans in 1430 the church was converted into a mosque. With the liberation of the city in 1912 it became once again an Orthodox church.

Source: ARCHDIOCESE OF ATHENS

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