Troodos Painted Churches
The Troodos is by far the biggest mountain range on Cyprus. While the Kyrenian Mountains are just one long, thin chain extending from west to east for something like 30 or 40 miles, the Troodos is a complex, interlocking system of ridges and valleys, crowned by Mount Olympus (with its 1923 m the highest point on the island). The landscapes, the tiny villages, the sheer variety of plants and the different types of rock: all that is fantastic — but even more astonishing are the so-called painted churches.
- These churches are plain and simple structures, more like barns… but what an interior! The photo shows Asinou, the most famous (and possibly the best) of them all.
- Doesn't look like much from the outside? Please enter and meet Jesus Christ and his troupe of angels!
Inside this church literally every single square inch is covered with these marvelous paintings (technically they're not frescoes as they were not painted on still moist plaster but only after the stuff had dried. Everybody refers to them as frescoes, though.). In Asinou, they date mainly from the early 12th to the 15th century.
- The photo shows the George who always quarrels with dragons — in fact it's not an easy matter to find a church on Cyprus without the dragon slayer pictured on some wall.
- Here we're in front of a half-dome (in fact, this tops the rounded structure you can see at the right edge in the first picture). The upper part shows personifications of the Sea (right) and the Earth (left). Below, the believers enter paradise: the guy with the key is of course St Peter.
- This is a close-up of St Peter but from another pillar. The quality of the painting as well as the general state of preservation is nothing short of amazing. We stood there and gawped. In fact, we stayed about two hours in the interior — and we returned, towards the end of our stay.
- A complicated four-fold display in the ceiling of the nave: in the top left Judas is kissing Jesus (watch out for St Peter busying himself with cutting off Malchus' ear in the meantime); top right Jesus on the way to Golgotha; bottom left the Crucifixion and finally the Entombment.
- The last display shows in graphic detail what happens to the really bad boys and girls once they've arrived in Hell. (Also have a look at the two hunting dogs and their moufflon quarry in the panel to the left: it is these unexpected details that makes studying the paintings so worthwhile.)
- Either go on to the Akamas Peninsula or, if you want to see even more frescoes, to more Troodos churches.
$updated from: Troodos Painted Churches.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$