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Church of Acheiropoietos

Last Update: Nov 2010

Early Christian Basilica (mid-5th century AD)

Churches, Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Monuments, Cultural heritage THESSALONIKI , MAKEDONIA CENTRAL , GREECE
56, Agias Sofias street 54635 THESSALONIKI , MAKEDONIA CENTRAL , GREECE
Tel.: +30 2310 227369

Church of Acheiropoietos - Overview

   Three-aisled basilica with a narthex on the west side and a second entrance with a monumental propylon in the middle of the south wall. To the east of the propylon a building is attached, probably a baptistery or a diaconicon. A small parecclesion (chapel) is formed at the east end of the north aisle. Of the interior decoration a few fragments of mosaics have survived in the soffits of the arches of the colonnades, dated to the 5th century A.D. Several parts of the wall paintings dated to the 13th century, are also preserved in the south aisle.
   The church was built in the middle of the 5th century, on the remains of a Roman bath. It was dedicated to the Holy Virgin "not made by human hands" (Acheiropoietos)-the name most probably refering to the cult image - and it was the first church in Thessalonike to be converted into a mosque after the conquest of the city by the Turks, in 1430. During the turkish occupation, pracically all the figurative decoration of the church in mosaics and frescoes was hammered down. In 1930, it was turned over to the Christian cult.
   Excavations were carried out in 1927-28, in 1946-47 in the precinct of the church and in 1961, in the area to the west of the church. Following the earthquake of 1978, in the course of the study for the restoration of the building, several trenches were opened on the interior and in the courtyard.
   Extensive restoration work was undertaken at the beginning of the century, in 1927-28 and again, in 1949. After the earthquake of 1978, restoration of the monument began once again and the work is still in progress.
   The monument is used as a church.

Church of Acheiropoietos - Map

Executives & Departments

  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 2310 968860, 2313 310400, Fax: 2310 968869, 2310 247106, Email:  
    9th Ephorate of Byzantine Anitquities, Thessaloniki

Principals / HQ / participations...

Activities / facilities / services / specialization

Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Monuments

Art & culture

Cultural Heritage • World Heritage Monument (UNESCO)
On site monuments • Churches / Early Byzantine period, AD 324-610 • Frescoes • Mosaics

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