More Troodos Churches
- Here are some more paintings from inside various Troodos churches. The first comes from Kimisis tis Panayias, in a place called Kourdali. This is a tiny church near a small stream and it was almost completely dark inside. In fact, when I took the photo I had no clear idea what I was actually photographing. The key-keeper (an affable old lady) was flabbergasted when I showed her the shot on the LCD screen (and so was I). Anyway, the top scene shows the lower part of the Crucifixion, with a fainting Virgin Mary in a blue, dangerously low-cut dress (all apparel in this painting is Venetian style). In the three scenes below, Christ is first taken from the cross, then put onto a bier, and finally appears from the tomb.
- Same church, another panel: the Dormition of the Virgin (more adequately dressed now). The long-fingered, strange-looking pirate to the far right is in fact St Paul.
- The following panel is from the church of Arkhangelos Mihail in Pedoulas: a nativity, and a rather lively one. There's always a lot going on in this sort of painting: the Virgin, here tired after having given birth, the usual menagerie of animals, the Magi, a few shepherds (always shown with flutes or other musical instruments), angels hovering above, Joseph and whatever else caught the painter's fancy.
- The next picture comes from inside the wonderful church of Ayios Nikolaos tis Steyis (about 3 kilometres above Kakopetria). This, the church of Asinou and Panayia tou Araka (in Lagoudera) are the three best preserved churches in the whole Troodos. The photograph shows once again a nativity (they are a dime a dozen in these churches), but one with a very rare motif: the Virgin Mary is breast-feeding her new-born, with ox and ass keeping an eye on the proceedings. Left sits a pensive Joseph (probably still wondering what on earth got his wife pregnant), right are the three Magi with their presents. And a shepherd with his goats… in fact, there are goats all over the place.
- This comes from a chapel in Galata (called Arkhangelos) for which even the word “tiny” would be much too big. But the paintings inside cover almost everything and they are of an exceptional quality. The walls show the life of Christ in a dozen episodes (indeed, not unlike a modern comic: the peasants back then may have been mostly illiterate but they immediately understood a painting). The photo shows, in the panel furthest left, how Jesus is given over to the temple; next there's John the Baptist who goes about his business in the middle of the river Jordan (we've actually been very near that spot during our spring trip); then the resurrection of Lazarus and finally Jesus riding on his donkey, at the gates of Jerusalem. Below, as usual, is a row of saints.
- The next panel is from a church called Panayia Khryseleoussa in the village of Emba. The left panel shows the bloke I have to thank for more than just my first name: Doubting Thomas is busy with checking Jesus' wounds (there were quite a few Doubting Thomases around in these churches). To the right is Jesus exhorting some fishermen: they'll end up being his apostles. One remarkable thing in both panels are the finely painted sandals.
- The last photo doesn't show a painting but one of the very few Byzantine mosaics on Cyprus. It comes from a church called Angeloktisti, in a place called Kiti, not far away from Larnaca. The mosaic is in the apse, thought to be the last surviving section of the original church building. It is an amazing show-piece, glittering with gold and other stones, not unlike the mosaics we saw in the Kariye church in Istanbul. The photo does not really do it justice: the apse was too far away for the relatively weak flash of my camera.
- On to the Akamas Peninsula.
$updated from: More Troodos Churches.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$