Archaeological site of Konitsa

Sites & Monuments Archaeological site of Konitsa

The Archaeological site of Konitsa is located in Laka of Kato Konitsa, near the stone bridge of the Aoos River. It includes the only surviving mosque of  Konitsa, a hexagonal Muslim tomb (Turbe) and the old Muslim School. The mosque, according to the prevailing opinion, is a building that Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent founded on his return from a campaign in Albania after 1536. It remains in a dilapidated state, after it was abandoned by the Muslim inhabitants, who left from Konitsa during the exchange of populations in 1925. It consists of a prayer area and the minaret that is built into the southwest corner of the prayer area.

To the southwest of the mosque and within a short distance from it, a burial monument (turbe) exists. It is a small, vaulted building with a hexagonal floor plan consisting of one room. The inner surface of the hall is covered with plaster, while traces of painting with non-figurative decoration are preserved on the semi-cylindrical dome and on parts of the walls. It probably dates from the same period as the mosque.

In the lower part of the archaeological site is the old Muslim School of Konitsa.

It is a two-storey stone building which, according to a built-in inscription located on the lintel of the floor’s entrance, dates to 1869 (Hejira year 1286) and its founder was Sheikh Zourabi, who according to the inscription characterizes the school as “the cradle of learning and study”.

Until the declaration of the site as archaeological, the building functioned as a Kindergarten.

The Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Municipality of Konitsa in 1998 restored the building which today hosts a photographic exhibition with the history of Konitsa and the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments of the wider area.

Athina Zogaki

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