Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church

The Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church (also known as Saint Nicolas of the Roof and Ayios Nicolaos tis Stegis Church) is located about 2 km from Kakopetria Village, which is within the Nicosia district of Cyprus.
 
 
This church was built in the 11th century, yet there were renovations during the 12th and 13th centuries.  The Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church once belonged to an ancient monastery that abandoned in the 18th century.  Yet, this church is the only monastic building that still exists.

According to a sign at the church, "This church is the only remnant of a monastery which was founded in the 11th century.  Neither its history nor the reason for its dedication to St. Nikolaos has survived but it seems that the monastery was in decline by the 17th century and was completely abandoned by the beginning of the next.  There is however, a 12th century fresco of the Saint standing next to an unnamed donor depicted in monk's clothing."

As one of the Troodos painted churches, Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis church features numerous frescoes from the 11th to the 17th centuries, yet most of the murals date back to the 14th century.  Some of the frescoes from this church are on display at the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia.




According to a sign at the church, "This church was almost continuously re-decorated and today has examples of paintings from at least five different centuries: The 11th century is distinguished by clear-cut features, accentuated schematized lines and a limited color spectrum.  Some of the best examples of this period are on the west wall e.g. the Transfiguration, the Raising of Lazarus and the Entry into Jerusalem.  The 12th century is primarily represented through the Day of Judgement in the narthex where the Crucifixion and Resurrection painted in the 13th century can also be seen.  On the south vault there is a magnificent Nativity while other examples of frescoes from this period can be seen at the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia, where all important icons from this church are also on view.  Finally the only frescoes that are visibly dated (1633) show the standing apostles Peter and Paul; they are positioned below the dome of the iconostasis which itself dates from the 17th century."

Along with nine other Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches in Cyprus, the Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

According to this website, the reasons for listing these churches are that "they constitute a testimony to the Byzantine culture on the island; they are important monuments of rural ecclesiastical architecture preserved in very good condition, and the art of these churches have elements which show the relation between Eastern and Western Christian art." 

  
 

As one of the more popular Byzantine churches in Cyprus, the Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church is an intriguing site for locals and tourists to explore. 


Site: Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church.

Category: Church. 

Location: About 2 km from Kakopetria Village, which is within the Nicosia district of Cyprus.

Phone Number: 22922583. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday, and closed on Monday. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2012.

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