The monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis (St. John Lampadistis) is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range.
The exact founding date of the monastery is unknown. The katholicon (monastery church), which is dedicated to Saint Herakleidios, is dated to the 11th century. Among the wall-paintings of the narthex there is an inscription, dated to the 15th century, which describes this church as “katholiki”, i.e. the principal parish church of the village. According to other written sources the monastery functioned until the beginning of the 19th century. Since then it has been used as a church. In the middle of the 19th century a room of the monastic buildings was used as a classroom for the children of Kalopanagiotis and other neighbouring villages.
The group of buildings which survives today is the result of constructions and renovations of different periods. The main monastery church is a domed cross-in-square structure, dated to the 11th century. In the 12th century the chapel of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis was added to the north of the first church, above the tomb of the Saint. This second chapel collapsed and was almost entirely rebuilt in the 18th century. In the middle of the 15th century a common narthex was built to the west of the two churches.
During the second half of the 15th century a vaulted chapel was added to the north of that of Saint Ioannis. It became known as the 'Latin chapel' because of the assumption that it was built for the Latins (Catholics). Sometime between the 15th and the beginnings of the 18th century), a timber roof covered with flat hooked tiles sheltered the entire roof complex . As a result of its tripartite character, the building acquired an external image of a large building covered with a timber roof.
The wall-paintings of the monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis are in accordance with its architectural history. The apse of the southern church of Agios Herakleidios, as well as some other parts, preserve fragmentary scenes dated to the 11th and 12th century. The rest of the church was painted in the 13th and 14th century. These frescoes are an important group and include some rare representations, as is the depiction of the Holy Handkerchief on the north pier supporting the dome.
The decoration of the narthex belongs to a later date and is the work of an artist from Constantinople, who fled to Cyprus after the fall in 1453. These wall-paintings follow the trends of the Byzantine capital, but are not of such high quality.
On the contrary, the frescoes of the 'Latin' chapel, (dated to around 1500), belong to the 'Italo-byzantine' style, which combines Byzantine and Italian Renaissance elements. In fact, it is the most complete set of this style in Cyprus. The “Latin” chapel, if it is so, denotes the coexistence of the two rites under the same roof and reflects the atmosphere of tolerance which prevailed in Cyprus after the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439).
Worth mentioning is the wooden templon screen, dated to the 13th -14th century, with painted decoration imitating coats-of-arms. It is in fact the oldest wooden templon of Cyprus. Another important element of the monastery is the relic of Saint Ioannis Lambadistis, which is preserved in a precious reliquary. It is in a special niche and on the wall above it there are many signatures of eponymous and anonymous pilgrims and travelers who had visited the monastery in the past.
Apart from the complex of the three churches there are other monastic buildings including cells, auxiliary rooms and an oil press. One of the rooms is used today to house icons from the monastery as well as other churches of the village of Kalopanagiotis.References:
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.
According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.
The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.
The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.