EDUCATIONAL VISITS

LOCAL HISTORY OF THESSALONIKI

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Οι Βυζαντινοί Ναοί!
 
....Since the Byzantine churches of Thessaloniki are a lot and they are of different style, we visited four of them, the most representative.
 
Church of Aghios (Saint) Demetrios
....We started our visit from Aghios Demetrios, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It was built in the first half of the 5th century A.D. on the spot there used to be a small church, the place in which the saint made a martyr of himself. Unfortunately, the church was burnt down twice: in 629 or 634 A.D. and again in the great fire of 1917.  
Aghios Demetrios
 
 
....In 1492, it was converted into a mosque named Kasimie mosque. Restoration of the church after the fire was undertaken in 1926 and was completed in 1948.Nowadays the monument is a five-aisled basilica. Under the sanctuary there is a crypt.  
Aghios Demetrios
 
 
Church of Aghia Sophia
Aghia Sophia
  ....Aghia Sophia was built after the period of debate between those who were for and those who were against worshipping the icons. Primarily the church was a basilica covered with a dome and later it was changed to a cross-in-square nucleus with a dome.
A long period passed since the Turks captured Thessaloniki in 1430, when the church was transformed into a mosque, probably in 1524. In 1912, after the liberation of the city, it was restored to Christian worship.
What dominates the dome is the marvellous mosaic of Christ's Ascension, while over the Temple there is one more mosaic depicting the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ in her arms.

 
In front of Aghia Sophia
 
Church of Panaghia Chalkeon (Our Lady of the coppersmiths)
....This church lies in the centre of the city, next to Egnatia Street. It is the cross-in-square type with a dome. In the north part of the interior of the church, there is the tomb of the protospatharios (Byzantine official) Christophoros, who built the church, as is attested by the inscription over the entrance.
After the conquest of Thessaloniki by the Turks, in 1430,it was converted into a mosque named Kazantzilar mosque, because it was close to the coppersmiths' forges of Thessaloniki (Kazantzidika). It became a Christian church again, with the liberation of the city, in 1912. In 1934 all the amount of soil covering half of the church and which the Turks accumulated during the Turkish domination due to the neglect ion of the church, was cleared away.

 
Panaghia Chalkeon
 
 
Church of Aghios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) Orphanos
....This church lies within the castles, in the upper part of the city (Ano polis), dated to the early 14th century A.D. The name is related to the founder of the church, Nicholas Scouterios Orphanos. In the following years it was named Aghios Nicolaos Orphanos.
The church is one of the few churches of Thessaloniki, which wasn't converted into a mosque .The Turks used to call it Poor Saint Nicholas.
It is characterized by a different style. It is a timber-roofed chamber with a U-shaped roof and a Pi-shaped arcade, which surrounds it.
Sacred paintings of high artistic quality, drawn by an important icon maker, cover all walls of the interior of the church.

 
Aghios Nicolaos Orphanos.
 
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