Located in a leafy garden, the peaceful Panagia Chalkeon Church (Virgin of the Copper Workers) in Thessaloniki dates from the 11th century and contains an almost complete cycle of frescoes.
History of Panagia Chalkeon
The Panagia Chalkeon was founded in 1028 by Christophoros of Lombardy. Its unusual name comes from its use as a mosque for the copperworkers' guild (Kazançilar-Djami) during the Ottoman occupation, from 1430 to 1912. The church was restored in 1934.
What to See at Panagia Chalkeon
The Panagia Chalkeon has a classic Byzantine cross-in-square plan with three apses on the east end and a nathex on the west end. It is constructed of deep red bricks that have given it a local nickname of "Red Church." It has a rather charming appearance due to its small size and sunken position below modern street level.
The main facade is pleasingly symmetrical, with three tall arches and three domes. The central dome is supported on an octagonal drum and the cross-arms have triangular pediments.
Inside is a nearly complete cycle of 11th-century Byzantine frescoes, some of which seem to be inspired by the mosaics of the Agia Sophia. In the dome is the Ascension of Christ and the narthex depicts the Last Judgment.
Quick Facts on Panagia Chalkeon
|Categories:||churches; change of religion|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||40.636844° N, 22.943857° E|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Panagia Chalkeon|
- Sherry Marker and James Pettifer, Blue Guide Greece: The Mainland, 7th ed. (W.W. Norton, 2006), 604-05.
- Thessaloniki's Byzantine churches - The Rough Guide to Greece
- Panagia Chalkeon (Virgin of the Copper Workers) - Frommer's Greece
Map of Panagia Chalkeon, Thessaloniki
Below is a location map and aerial view of Panagia Chalkeon. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.