The church of the Metamorfosis tou Sotiros (Transfiguration of the Saviour) is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List , which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range.
It was erected at the beginning of the 16th century and it belongs to the single-aisled, timber-roof typechurches of the Troodos region. The narthex, which was added by the beginning of the 17th century, extends to the west and south sides of the church and is covered by the same timber roof.
The interior of the church is entirely covered with wall-paintings. These date to the beginning of the 16th century, and constitute one of the most complete groups of wall-paintings of the Late Byzantine period in Cyprus. It is the most important example of the work of a group of painters of the Venetian occupation period, who remained attached to traditional Byzantine art, whilst having limited western influences. It is the same kind of art which we observe during the 16th century in various Greek lands under Ottoman occupation.
The unknown artist was influenced by the art of the Palaiologan period but at the same time kept his own style with some influences from western art. The artist seems to have been very capable and a master in the drawing of standing human figures.
On the external side of the west wall of the church there are some later wall-paintings, dated to 1612. The wooden painted iconostasis dates to the beginning of the 18th century. Most of the portable icons are dated to the same period and are the work of painter Mathaios Koutloumousios, a monk from Mount Athos.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.