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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Boltasli, Cyprus
See all sites in Boltasli


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


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Barbaros Burcin (2 years ago)
Kilise ve rahip odaları dıştan iyi durumda. Çatıları da düzgün. İç kısım bakıma muhtaç. Freskler zaten kazınmış veya dökülmüş. Bahçesiyle beraber güzel bir havası var. Özellikle Ortodoks turistlerin buraya geldiği söylendi. Yan evdeki emekli polis Erkan beyde kapı kildinin anahtarı var. Size yardımcı olacaktır. Hevesli zaten. İç mekanla ve bahçeyle ilgilenecek biri olsa iyi olur. Çiçek filan dikilmesi lazım. Rahip odaları binasının köşe taşları ve içmekan tavanları ilgi çekici.
Akis Kosmas (2 years ago)
9/9/2018 έγινε η πρώτη λειτουργία μετά από 42 ολόκληρα χρόνια στην Παναγία Κανακαριά. Περισσότεροι από 500 πιστοί προσήλθαν στον συλημμένο ναό για να παρακολουθήσουν τη λειτουργία, που τέλεσε ο Χωρεπίσκοπος Καρπασίας, Χριστόφορος.
A K (2 years ago)
Nathalie Ritzmann (2 years ago)
La magie lorsque cette église, la première construite sur l'île de Chypre au 5ème siècle, apparaît au loin dans le soleil couchant rouge flamboyant. C'est Erol bey, ancien policier, qui habite juste à côté qui vient vous ouvrir la porte et vous raconte toute son histoire. Admirez la fresque de la Vierge Marie à l'extérieur au dessus de la porte côté rue. A l'intérieur, quelques fresques en assez mauvais état et pas de lumière. En tout cas, l'architecture extérieure est sublime !
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