Church of Panagia Kera at Kritsa

The history of the church of the Virgin Mary ‘Panagia Kera’ commences at least as early as the 13th century. The middle aisle was built first, bearing a great arched roof and a heavy flat dome, then the side aisles were added and today's western entrance was opened up, and later the belfry and the buttresses supporting the church were constructed.

The church is world-famous mainly because it constitutes an exhibition of Byzantine art in Crete in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the central aisle, which is dedicated to the Assumption, there are two layers of decorative frescoes. The depictions of the first layer are preserved in fragments on the apse of the sanctuary and on the arches supporting the dome and date to the middle of the 13th century. 

The second layer depicts scenes from the Gospel spread into all the other areas of the central nave and dates to the early 14th century. The south aisle of St. Anna is decorated mainly with the life of the Marian family and the north aisle of St. Anthony is decorated with scenes from the theme of the Second Coming, dating to the first half of the 14th century. Founding inscriptions are visible on both side aisles (Mylopotamitaki 2005).


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