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Microcosm to landscape: the church called Theoskepasti and the environs of Apalirou

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Vicky Manolopoulou, Dr Stelios Lekakis, Professor Mark Jackson, Professor Sam Turner



This is the final published version of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Norwegian Institute at Athens, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This article uses the story of a small church, Theoskepasti (Kastro Apalirou, Naxos), as a vehicle for a wider introduction to the methodological and theoretical approaches underpinning the Apalirou Environs Project. Both Theoskepasti and the wider landscape are approached via the longue durée. How both the church and the landscape it lies in are perceived today will be explored using oral testimonies gathered from local inhabitants. The discussion will also encompass graffiti and other material culture in an attempt to determine how people engaged with the building in recent times. Analysis of this evidence will reveal that Theoskepasti was and still is a place of value to the local communities. Although ostensibly in ruins, the small church was visited at least from the early 20th century and is still used for religious purposes today. A combination of three-dimensional survey and careful examination of the building have generated new data which suggests that the structure and its surrounding landscape are far older than was originally thought. The church has multiple phases, including a post-medieval phase which probably coincided with the late 18th and early 19th centuries – as attested by structures to the south of the church. During this phase, the church’s south wall and the western part of the north wall were rebuilt. During an earlier phase, two blind arcades and piers at the north and south wall were constructed in order to support a stone-vaulted roof, which belonged to an even earlier phase of the building. Taking evidence from the wider landscape and local comparanda into consideration, it is suggested that the earlier phases of the building belong to the Byzantine period. The church of Theoskepasti is therefore part and parcel of a landscape that has been shaped by people for a considerably longer period than was previously thought. The main argument of the paper is that landscapes also constitute cultural heritage, encompassing both tangible and intangible aspects and that their value is always being re-invented and negotiated by the communities that dwell within them.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manolopoulou V, Lekakis S, Jackson M, Turner S

Editor(s): J. Crow and D. Hill

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Naxos and the Byzantine Aegean: Insular Responses to Regional Change

Year: 2018

Pages: 239-254

Print publication date: 16/07/2018

Online publication date: 23/07/2018

Acceptance date: 01/07/2018

Series Title: Papers and Monographs from the Norwegian Institute at Athens

Publisher: Norwegian Institute at Athens

Place Published: Athens, Greece


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789608514577