Kato Paphos Part 6 - Agia Kyriaki
In Part 6 of our Tour of Kato Paphos we head inland to visit Agia Kyriaki and St Paul's Pillar. We also say hello to an old friend...
Towards St Pauls Pillar
At the end of Part 5 we had arrived at the road leading to St Paul's Pillar, which is where we are now heading. Up ahead on our left there used to be a nice tavern, but it has now closed, unfortunately. Before that, there is the Archangel Michael Hospice Shop.
If you missed the previous episode, see here:
If I Could Turn Back Time
I took this picture in 2019. You can see the tavern in happier times here. There will be quite a few pictures from 2019 in this article, as I photographed the entire area then but never got around to publishing them. I think I was unhappy with the lighting or something. Anyway, in 2021, the walkways around the church you are about to see are closed, due to repairs. Also the church was locked. So I will include 2019 pictures when the area is inaccessible in 2021. There are also a few closeups, courtesy of Alex.
Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa
This is the aforementioned church. It is a popular location for weddings, and is very photogenic. We will see inside soon enough. You will also note that there is an array of ruins in front of that. There is a big sign here explaining what they are. I shall reproduce it in italics over the next few pictures:
The Early Christian basilica of Chrysopolitissa, erected at the end of the 4th century, was divided into seven aisles by six rows of columns (colonnades). The eastern wall of the basilica was rectilinear and the apse was positioned 10m to the west within the nave, creating a square area at the eastern edge of the cave. The area was separated from the lateral aisles by four granite columns two on each stylobate, 7.15m high and 0.95m in diameter. During this phase, the whole floor of the basilica was at the same level and was covered with mosaics with figural and geometric decoration.
Before we get to the church, lets explore the grounds. We shall go to the right first.
During the 6th century, the original seven-aisled basilica was drastically renovated and transformed into a five-aisled basilica, enlarging the width of the lateral aisles. The apse of the first phase was demolished, three new apses were erected to the east while the whole floor was raised. The central apse, which was the eastern edge of the nave was semi-circular internally and five0sided externally. The apses of the two inner lateral aisles were semi-circular internally and three-sided externally. The nave was paved with a new opus sectile floor, and the lateral aisles with new mosaic floors. Each colonnade had 12 columns supporting Corinthian capitals, placed on marble bases.
In the corner of the church grounds are a big pile of pillars and plinths that presumably have turned up in historical excavations.
Internally, the walls of the basilica were covered by marble slabs until a certain height since the higher points were decorated with wall mosaics and frescoes, fragments of which were found during excavation.
To the west was the narthex which extended over the southern limits of the basilica and connected the church with the episcopal palace via a stone-paved corridor, which was located to the south. A triple passage (tribilon) permitted the communication of the narthex with the main church.