Kanakaria Church

Boltasli, Cyprus

Situated on the edge of Boltasli village, the church of Panaya Kanakaria dates back to the early Byzantine period. There is, however, virtually no trace of the original church. What we can see today is from the late 5th century onwards. The church is cruciform in shape, having been originally built as a colonnaded basilica. It was largely destroyed during the Arab raids of the 700s, and rebuilt. Further restoration was required after an earthquake in 1169, when it took its form as a multi-domed church. The porch was added around 1400, at the same time as the roof was strengthened. The central drummed cupola dates to the 1700s. and was probably added at the same time as a monastery was opened.

The apse, which is part of the original church, was adorned with mosaics, believed to have been made around 550, and considered to be some of the most important surviving pieces of early Christian artwork, having escaped the almost total destruction of religious images during the Byzantine Iconoclastic period from 726 to 843 AD. They consisted of the Virgin and Child, Saint James and Saint Andrew, and an Archangel.

Some time after 1979, these mosaics were looted and found their way to America via Munich, along with some other stolen works of art. In a famous court case, they wereretrieved and returned to Cyprus, where they are now on display in the Byzantine museum in south Nicosia. Outside the church, above the porch, there is a fresco of the Virgin Mary, dating to 1779.

The church is usually locked, but the key is held locally, and the church is occasionally open. However, even from the outside it is worth a visit.

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Address

Boltasli, Cyprus
See all sites in Boltasli

Details

Founded: 5th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kevin J. Norman (10 months ago)
Well worth a visit.... door keeper very helpful for the usual tip. Inside in poor state and mosaics looted during the war. Some recovered and in the museum in Nicosia. Well worth a visit.
Kolby Granville (11 months ago)
Pretty overgrown at this point. Still nice.
Barbaros Burcin (23 months ago)
Church and priest rooms are in good condition from the outside. The roofs are also smooth. The interior is in need of maintenance. The frescoes are already engraved or spilled. It has a nice atmosphere with its garden. It was said that especially Orthodox tourists came here. Erkan Bey, a retired police officer in the next house, has the key to the door lock. It will help you. Enthusiastic already. It would be good if someone would take care of the interior and the garden. We need to plant flowers. Priests rooms of the cornerstones of the building's ceilings indoors and engaging.
Zbigniew Caputa (23 months ago)
An extremely interesting story about a retired policeman guarding the keys to this temple
ЕЗДА ПО КОЧКАМ (23 months ago)
A very interesting place, especially if you find a caretaker of the church. The former policeman has been watching the church for 29 years, he will conduct a tour, he will tell and show everything, he is a very sociable person. The church is beautiful, there is no mosaic inside, it is kept in the Museum of Cyprus.
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