Church of Profitis Ilias, Thessaloniki

4.6
#20 of 26 in Historic Sites in Thessaloniki
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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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
17 reviews
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4.7
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  • July 17, 2017
    The Church of profitis Ilias is a Byzantine Church in the 14th century. Very pretty external & internally. Located above Agios Dimitrios & near "Residency"/Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, on the outskirts of the upper city and worth a visit before proceeding to the "Castles"/Byzantine Medieval walls.
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  • July 8, 2017
    Among the churches of the Byzantine heritage of Thessaloniki, quite large. Interesting Byzantine brick domes and arches like buildings. Remains not much decoration inside.
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  • May 2, 2017
    Byzantine Church of the 14th century. Olympiados Street is located. Simple and majestic with important frescos (are saved).
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  • October 13, 2016
    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!
  • August 30, 2016
    Its a beauiful church
  • December 3, 2015
    Very nice, historic church. Deserves a visit.
  • April 18, 2016
    Beautiful old church
  • March 9, 2017
    A beautiful place. Next open market on Thursday
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