Church of Profitis Ilias, Thessaloniki

4.5
#22 of 26 in Historic Sites in Thessaloniki
Religious Site Historic Site
The Church of Prophet Elijah is a 14th-century church in Thessaloniki, Greece, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The church is located in the upper quarter of the old city, and dates to the Palaiologan period, but its original dedication is unknown. In Ottoman times, it was known as the Saraylı Mosque, and through a misinterpretation of this name came about its modern dedication to the Prophet Elijah. It has been traditionally identified as the katholikon of the Nea Moni monastery, built ca. 1360–1370 on the site of a former palace destroyed in 1342 by the Zealot uprising. Modern research, however, has cast doubt on this, since the Nea Moni continued to operate well into the Ottoman period, while the church of Prophet Elijah was converted into a mosque by Badrah Mustafa Pasha immediately after the city's capture in 1430. On the basis of its internal decoration, it has been suggested that the church was the katholikon of the important Akapniou Monastery.Its architectural style, a variant of cross-in-square church known as the "Athonite type", is unique in the city, and was always reserved for katholika of monasteries. The careful masonry, of alternating courses of bricks and white ashlar, is also unusual for Thessaloniki and its region; it is copied from Constantinopolitan architecture. Fragments of the church's original decoration survive in the form of wall paintings, fine examples of late Palaiologan art, which influenced later paintings in Serbia.
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If you come to Thessaloniki to splurge and pamper yourself, book a room at one of the city's five-star hotels, providing spacious rooms packed with amenities, as well as access to rooftop bars, ground-floor restaurants, and fitness facilities. Centrally located hotels also provide secure parking, complimentary Wi-Fi, and quick walking access to the city's top attractions. On the other hand, if all you need is a comfortable bed and a warm meal, consider a budget-friendly hostel or family-run inn in the residential areas outside the city's central area.
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4.7
  • while an imposing and impressive building from the outside, with some last remnants of frescos, there is little left inside worth the visit. not a top-ten site therefore, but maybe on your way walking...  more »
  • Stumbled on it on my way to Osios David. Fresco fragments everywhere give you a taste of what a Byzantine church in its prime would have felt like. Lovely surprise.  more »
  • Perhaps not as much visited as some other nearby churches such as Agias Dimtriou, Osios David, and St Nicholas Orfanos , this impressive 14th century church deserves a visit. You can call in as part o...  more »
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  • The surrounding yard is mainly for meetings by teenagers. They spend most of their evening time there, sitting and talking. A couple of beers later won't hurt!
  • Its a beauiful church
  • Very nice, historic church. Deserves a visit.
  • Beautiful old church
  • A beautiful place. Next open market on Thursday
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