Historic Temples

Coordinates: 37.464072, 22.429578

Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (Palaia Episkopi)

In the green park of Tegea, at the area where the ancient city used to be, stands today the church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, known as Palaia Episkopi. It is built over the koilon of the ancient theatre, which was constructed with the sponsorship of Antiochus Epiphanes, in the 2nd century BC, and its ruins can be seen under the altar of the church.

Tegea was the seat of a bishopric from the 5th century, as demonstrated by the participation of its bishop, Ophelimus, at the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. At the area of Tegea, near Episkopi, there is a basilica of the 6th century with excellent mosaics, which depict the months of the year and the four rivers of Paradise. From the 7th century Tegea was renamed to Amykion or Nyklion and in the following centuries it flourished greatly. In around 1000 the church of Episkopi was built and it operated for many years. After the decline of Tegea and its destructions by wars and earthquakes, the church remained in ruins until the 19th century. It was restored in the period 1884-1888 based on the study of the well-known Austrian architect, Ernst Ziller. Due to this restoration, the upper parts of the monument have been altered.

The church belongs to the so-called “transitory type”, that is in the transition from the Early Christian domed basilica to the Middle Byzantine cross-in-square church. The ground plan created the impression of a three-aisled basilica, whose aisles are divided by walls. On the east is ends to three semi-circular arches and on the west there is a narthex. It is considered the forerunner of the five-domed churches, since its large central dome is surrounded by four smaller ones, which rise from the corners of the arms of the cross. Numerous architectural members from buildings of ancient Tegea and nearby Byzantine buildings have been used in the construction of the church. Its interior is decorated with wall paintings of the period 1935-1936, works of the well-known painter Aginor Asteriadis.

The church celebrates on the 15th of August.



11th - 12th century


15 August

Holy Metropolis: 
Mantineia and Kynouria

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Arcadia

Tegea 22012


Access to People with Special Needs: 


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