Historic Temples

Coordinates: 41.152168, 24.143785

Church of Agia Sophia

At the historical centre of Drama, near the Byzantine walls, is the Byzantine church of Agia Sophia, the oldest surviving building in the city and one of the most representative monuments. Nowadays, it is located under ground level, but initially it must have been at an elevated location of the city, with rich vegetation and plenty of water, since the level of the ground has risen due to later banking up.

The church was built in the 10th century and contemporary with the walls, and as a matter of fact it has been ascertained that the same construction material has been used in their construction. During the Turkish Occupation, in the 14th century, it was converted into a Muslim mosque with the name Bey Mosque. Then they added the antechamber on the western side, which is located at a higher level than the one of the church and the minaret, the basis of which is the present day bell tower. On the northern side of the mosque there was the Muslim cemetery. The church initially must have been dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, but in 1922 it was named by the refugees “church of God’s Sophia”.

The monument belongs to a characteristic group of churches with an almost square façade, a dome and a porch on the three sides. Its dome is tall, octagonal, supported on four massive pillars that determine the central square area. Its walls were built with stones, where bricks were inserted and architectural members in second use, among them two ancient inscriptions. This initial masonry appears only at the eastern side of the church, since today all its surfaces are covered with plaster. At its interior survive wall paintings of the 10th century, with more representative the depiction of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary at the altar area and of the Pantokrator at the dome. The depiction of the Second Coming at the narthex is remarkable, the work of 1917, which reflects the folk art style of that period. The diaconicon is shaped as an independent chapel, dedicated to Virgin Mary.



10th century


Holy Metropolis: 

Agias Sofia Avenue 66100


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