Post-Byzantine monuments of Klimatia

Sites & Monuments Post-Byzantine monuments of Klimatia

The settlement of Klimatia, about 20 kilometers NW of Ioannina, with its old toponym, Velchista, is mentioned in a golden bull of 1321, with which the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos granted privileges to the Metropolis of Ioannina.

The ancient fortification, parts of which are preserved on the western outskirts of the settlement, at the location “Hellenic Litharia”, originates from a walled city, the foundation of which probably dates back to the 3rd century BC, and is associated with the personality of the King Pyrrhus of Epirus.

Temple of Metamorfosi (Transfiguration) of the Savior

The church of the Transfiguration of the Savior is built on the top of a hillock, in a short distance northwest of the settlement. According to oral tradition, the temple used to be the catholicon of a monastery. It is a simple, single-naved, vaulted structure, with a three-sided projecting apse to the east and a later wide narthex to the west. Its masonry is made of rectangular limestone slabs, while in the lower parts large ancient stones, placed here in secondary use, can be seen.

Inside, the temple is decorated with highly aesthetic frescoes. According to the founding inscription, on the western wall of the main church the monument was built and decorated with frescoes in 1568. They were made by the Theban painter Frangos Kontaris, an important representative of the art movement of the “School of Northwest Greece”.

The images of the original iconostasis date back to the second half of the 16th century, and today they are kept in the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina.

Church of Agios Demetrios

Agios Demetrios is the parish church of the settlement. It is cross-gabled, with a three-sided arch to the east and a later narthex to the west.

The monument was built in 1558, as evidenced by the date which is inscribed on the spandrel of the window, on the south antenna of the cross. The frescoes of the temple in the most part date back to the second half of the 16th century. The close iconographic relations, typological similarities and analogies in terms of style and technique with the decoration of the temple of the Transfiguration of Klimatia, suggest the attribution of the main phase of the frescoes of Saint Demetrius to the workshop of the Theban painters, Frangos and Georgios Kontaris brothers.

Most of the full-length saints in the lower zone, as well as the representation “Above on a Throne and below in a Tomb” in the northern niche of the sanctuary date from the end of the 18th century.

The despotic icons of the iconostasis represent a scholarly current of the beginning of the 19th century, while the figures of the apostles and the Mandilio, in the epistle, were made in 1845.

Church of Panagia (Dormination of the Mother of God)

The church of the Dormition of the Virgin is built on the southern outskirts of the settlement, near the ruins of the ancient acropolis and at a short distance from the ruins of an ancient quarry. It is single-naved, vaulted, with a three-sided apse to the east and a wide, wooden-roofed narthex to the west.

The wall painting of the church, as evidenced by the founding inscription on the west wall of the main temple, was made in 1618/19 by the painters Dimitrios and Theodoros. The frescoes of the sanctuary differ in style from those of the sanctuary and were created by another painter, whose name would appear in a fragmentary inscription, which was revealed under the altar niche.

The full-length saints in the lower zone of the main church have been covered by a subsequent layer of frescoes, dating from the 19th century.

The iconostasis that adorns the church today also dates back to the 19th century.

                 Polyxeni Dimitrakopoulou

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