The Panaya Kanakaria Church

Although there is no trace here of the first church thought to have belonged to the early Byzantine period, the second church is believed to have been constructed in the 5th century A.D. or early 6th century. The entrance section is separated into three sections by two rows of columns. The church was destroyed by the Arab pirates in the 8th century. A new one on stilts was constructed but as this one was destroyed as well in an earthquake in 1169, it was reconstructed as a multi-dome church which could only be completed in the 14th century. Some sections of the present church like the capitals of the columns and the apsis belong to the former buildings. The mosaics in the apsis representing Christ as a child sitting in Mary’s lap, surrounded with the archangel and apostles are some of the most noteworthy examples of early Byzantine art. Unfortunately, the part which shows child Christ, St. Mathews, St. James and the archangle is no longer there. The frescoes of the church and the mural of Mary have been made at a later date and restored several times.