Agioi Varnavas and Ilarion at Peristerona (Five-domed churches)
Agioi Varnavas and Ilarion at Peristerona (Five-domed churches) is part of the Tentative list of Cyprus in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The St. Barnabas and Hilarion Church in Peristerona has five domes on the roof arranged in the shape of a cross. It was built in the Byzantine period (possibly 11th century), however little has been preserved of its interior. It has wall-paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries. The wooden door of the church is a masterwork of Byzantine carving.
Map of Agioi Varnavas and Ilarion at Peristerona (Five-domed churches)Load map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I visited the church of Agioi Varnavas and Ilarion at Peristerona on my way from the Troodos mountains to Nicosia in August 2021.
Upon arriving at the church, we found it closed, although the opening times on the door stated that it should have been open at that moment. As it happened many times when visiting churches in Cyprus, I had to find someone who had the key or could contact the keykeeper for us. In this case it was very simple as there is a nice cafe right in front of the church so, while we ordered a good Cyprus coffee, we also asked the owner if he knew how to get the church open. He then made a call and, while we were sipping our good and really hot coffee (in a 40°C weather), the caretaker of the church showed up and opened the door for us.
The stone interior is simple as most of the ancient decorations are lost and not many wall paintings are left and it felt just like another Byzantine church like many others.
Beside the small mishap of finding the church closed during opening time, reaching the church was really easy because the town is on the main road and the church is well signposted. Overall it was a pleasant visit but, in my opinion, the five-domed church does not have anything too special to deserve the inscription in the WH list.
Read more from Riccardo Quaranta here.
Peristerona village is approximately 40 minutes west of Nicosia, on one of the roads to Trodoos mountains. The church of the Saints Barnabas and Ilarion was built at the tenth century with a Greek cross layout, each of the five sections being covered with a dome – from there the “five-domed church”. Front of the building was rebuilt in a much more recent period, and a bell tower was added then. The five domes can best be seen from nearby road bridge.
Display on the door indicates the building is open on mornings and afternoons, but it was open all day long for prayers when we visited on Good Friday. We were the only visitors, all other people were coming to pray, and it gave a special atmosphere to the place.
A few hundred meters from the church lay the remains of and old mosque – or better said a minaret in Ottoman style and ruins of a building. This area is fenced and cannot be visited.
As for the other TWHS we visited in Cyprus, we enjoyed our visit at this very well preserved place, but we do not really think it will make it to the list of inscribed sites.
Successor to part of former TWHS of The two five-dome churches of Ss Barnabus and Hilarion (with Ayia Paraskevi) (1984)
2004 Added to Tentative List
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