Panagia tou Araka

Church in Pitsylia

This 12th-century Unesco-listed church is on the outskirts of Lagoudera. From the outside, it appears enormous, the pitched roof and wooden trellis concealing the church within. Inside, it has some of the finest examples of late Comnenian style (1192) frescos in the Orthodox world. Its neoclassical works by artists from Constantinople display such images as the incredible Pantokrator featured in the tholos (beehive-shaped stone tomb). Other excellent frescos include the Annunciation, the Four Evangelists, the Archangel Michael and the Panagia Arakiotissa.

The unusual name of the church derives from arakiotissa (meaning ‘of the wild pea’) and owes its origins to the vegetable that grows profusely in the district. The church’s priest can usually be found next door; check with him before you take any photos of the frescos.