1st Route - Metropolis
A three-story temple dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helen, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Nicholas. The building is a three-aisled, wooden-rocky basil with stones and was built in 1857. It is believed that it took 5-6 years to be built and operated since its founding in 1851. Most of the stone was used to be rectangular, especially on the eastern side. The stone-made masonry has a large width, about one meter. The angolians (angonias), which were placed in the corners, were sculpted by skilled craftsmen, sculptors. The exterior surface was initially unfinished, while internally covered with plaster. The stones used for the building and especially the sanctuary of the temple were transported from the area of Tsoukas (Saint Anna). The oak timber for the columns and the wall cords was moved from the Paliomonastiro area, above the village of Nostimo (Nestimi). The plates of Saint Bank were moved from Kranohori (Dranitsi). A special place, among others, in the erection of the temple was Ioannis Karabinas and the treasurer of contributions Athanasios Skoutaris. Nowadays, in the temple, heirlooms are also preserved from some destroyed temples.
At the neighborhood of the cathedral church and the metropolitan mansion in Kastoria, near Omonoia square, is one of the most important Byzantine monuments of the city, the church of Taxiarchis Mitropoleos, which is dedicated to archangel Michael.
The church was constructed in the 9th century over the ruins of an Early Christian basilica and it is possible, that it was a cemetery church. It is a small, three-aisled, barrel-vaulted basilica, with a narthex on the western side. The central aisle is covered by semi-circular barrel vault, is especially elevated and it has windows, something characteristic at Middle Byzantine basilicas in Kastoria. At the side aisles the barrel vaults have fallen and have been replaced with wooden roofs. Interventions were made on the northern section of the church, which had collapsed, resulting in the doubling of its width, while in 1937 they added two buttresses for its better support. The masonry is the characteristic one of the churches in Kastoria. It consists of stones in their natural size or carved, which are surrounded by plaster, framed with bricks horizontally and vertically, and alternate with groups of bricks that create decorative latters or geometric shapes.
At its interior, it is richly decorated with remarkable wall paintings. The older ones date from the beginning of the 10th century and there are fragments on the eastern walls of the three aisles and the narthex. The wall paintings of the second stratum, at the bema and the central aisle, took place in the period 1359-1360, when the church was renovated and icons were made from scratch. According to an inscription, that survives over the doorframe of the entrance, these works were carried out the period when the Bulgarian Simeon and his son John Ouresis Palaiologos were both kings. The wall paintings on the external western wall of the narthex, according to the relevant inscription but also the style of the representations, date from the second half of the 13th century.
At the southern aisle they keep in a reliquary the bones of Pavlos Melas, a fighter in the Greek struggle for Macedonia, and his wife Natalia.
Single-spaced, wood-roofed basilica with later additions to the north and south side in the form of open prostheses. When these additions were made, the western side of the temple was repaired. The temple was internally recorded. However, the frescoes were covered with lime, perhaps after the Turkish liberation. Attempts were made to reveal the frescoes by conservationists, with the result that, apart from some figures of the saints, the statuary inscription appeared. The time for the creation of the wall paintings is 1401. The fresco is contemporary with the construction of the temple. The repair of the western side and the modern construction of the open porches bear 19th-century features. During this intervention a partial repair was made on the roof of the temple. The painting is of good quality and offers excellent information about the art of Kastoria in the early 15th century.
At Omonoia square, near the Byzantine acropolis of Kastoria, is the church of Saint Nikolaos of Kasnitzis, a name that comes from its owner, the magister Nikephoros Kasnitzis, who erected and decorated it in honor of his patron saint and benefactor.
The church dates from the second half of the 12th century. It is a small, aisleless, with a large semi-circular arch on the east and a narthex on the west. Its masonry is characteristic of the churches of Kastoria, is consists of rocks at their natural shape or heavily carved, surrounded by plaster and framed by tiles horizontally or vertically and alternate with tiles that create decorative letters or geometrical shapes. On the upper side of the church there is a frieze by rectangular clay tiles, that are decorated with engraved diagonal lines. The monument has been restored in 1952.
At the interior of the church there was remarkable wall painting decoration, which survives in good condition. It includes, among others, at the main church scenes from the life of Christ, as well as the full-body figures of military saints and medical saints. The narthex is decorated with scenes from the life of Saint Nikolaos, full-body figures of saints and the presentation of Praying, with Christ being depicted as an old man, as the Ancient of Days. Based on their style these icons date from the end of the 12th century and constitutes one of the most important works of the Komnenian period.
Small one-aisled basilica, which on the east ends in a semicircular niche. To the west was added a lateral splint, which is lower than the temple. The decoration of the exterior facades is done in the simple way of the brick-built masonry. This does not misuse the formation of various decorative motifs, which are characteristic of the larger monuments of Kastoria. Internally, the temple is a sign. The oldest layer of painting, dating back to the 10th century, is barely visible. To the best possible extent two scenes on the western wall survive: the Crucifixion and the Death. Paintings from other periods of time are on the eastern wall of the narthex, above the entrance of the temple, in a shallow conch, with the representation of the Virgin Left-winged.
At the acropolis of the Byzantine castle of Kastoria one of the most famous and most remarkable monuments of Macedonia, the sacred temple of PanSaint Kastriotissa or Koumbelikidis, emblem and real jewelery of the city. It was named Kastriotissa in the Byzantine era, as it appears from an inscription that existed at the base of its dome because it was very close to the walls of the castle. It is more known, however, as Koumbelidiki, a name that prevailed during the Ottoman rule (ca. 1383-1912) and derives from the Turkish word "koumpes", meaning a dome, because it was the only church of Kastoria that had a dome.
The temple probably dates back to the middle of the 9th century, although other views on its dating were made in the middle of the 10th and the first half of the 11th century. During the Greek-Italian War (1940-1941) a large part of his dome was destroyed by bombardment, and in 1949 the monument was restored and returned to its original form.
Architecturally, the temple is the only one in Kastoria that belongs to the square triangle type. Its plan is square and its three sides, the east, the north and the south, end in niches. The square is covered with a circular dome, disproportionately high in relation to the volume of the building. To the west there is an elongated splint, and a large exarchate that was added in the 15th century. Of particular interest is the formation of the exterior surfaces of the church, which is characteristic of the Byzantine architecture of Kastoria. The walls are made of stones in their natural shape or roughly chipped, framed with plinths, horizontally or vertically. Between them there are briquettes that form decorative letters or geometric shapes and special toothed bands, while the ensemble is enriched with brightened glazed colored squares, squares, rectangles, triangles or in the shape of a diamond.
The inside of the temple, as well as the outer west side, are framed with remarkable frescoes, but they have suffered a lot of damage from the humidity. In the main church are saved scenes from the life of Christ (the Dodecar) and saints, and in the narthex are depicted episodes from the life of the Virgin Mary. Of particular interest is the depiction of the Holy Trinity in the narthex arch, which is one of the oldest Byzantine examples of anthropomorphic Holy Trinity, with the oversized God Father sitting in a bow and in front of His breast, Christ the Son, holding the Pentecost of the Holy Spirit surrounded by glory. These frescoes date back to the middle of the 13th century, while those in the exonarth are dating back to the 17th century. The illustration on the western outer wall of the church is later and, as the relevant inscription informs us, it was at the expense of an Andronikos in 1496.