Pedoulas’s Archangelos Michaelis Church (accessed down a steep lane from the Church of the Holy Cross) is one of the ten “painted churches of the Troodos Region” that have been declared by UNESCO as being a collective World Heritage Site. Distinctive because of its tiled roof, which on one side sweeps down almost to ground level, the church is easy to date – a dedication over the north door says that it was built by “the most honourable priest Lord Basil, son of Chamades” and painted in 1474. The dedication also seeks forgiveness of sins for Basil, his wife and two daughters – a portrait of them donating the church to the Archangel provides an illustration of the fashions of the time. A further dedication (on the beam across the west wall) reveals that the artist was “Menas from Myrianthousa” (ie the Marathasa Valley). As is usually the case in these churches, the walls are divided into a lower zone populated by a host of individual saints and an upper one illustrating scenes from the Bible, including the Birth of the Virgin, Her Presentation to the Temple, the Annunciation, the Birth of Christ, His Baptism, Betrayal, Crucifixion and so on. The more you know your Bible, the more you’ll appreciate the murals, but even the non-religious can’t help but be impressed by the vividness of the colours, despite some fading over the centuries.

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