The Church of Antiphonitis

Antiphonitis Kilisesi, Bahçeli

The beautiful church is situated in a wooden valley about 8 km south of the village of Esentepe and can be reached from Esentepe or the village of Bahceli. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the church was constructed in the 12th century. The narthex on the western side and the arcadeon the south side were both added during the Lusignan Period. The church was once the centre of an important monastery. In terms of basic plan, the building is in the Byzantine style. However, the architecture in unusual for Cyprus suggesting that it was built by local craftsmen and builder. The dome of edifice rests on eight stone columns which form an octagon and four of the columns are attached to the wall. The frescoes which adorn the church were painted in two separate periods. The wall frescoes have suffered damage or have been removed from their original positions but are nonetheless remarkable. The oldest of these frescoes date from the 12th century, the more recent ones are from the 15th century. Some of the frescoes retain their brilliant colour and portray the saints and scenes from the Bible. The dome depicts a representation of the Christ Pantokrator and John the Baptist. The twelve apostles seated on their thrones and images of prophets are also represented.

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