Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros

Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros (Thessaloniki) by Joy of Museums

Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros

Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros was probably built as a burial church to a Byzantine monastery. The church is a charming little Byzantine church with a high dome in the rare tetraconch architectural style. Constructed in the 14th century, its original form was a square with the dome. The narthex to the west was added during a later period.

Inside the church, the rare frescoes and mural decor are contemporary to the church founding and part of the Paleologan tradition. Paleologan refers to the time when the Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Palaiologoi dynasty in the period between 1261 and 1453 AD, representing the artistic period just before the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire.


The narthex is an architectural element typical of early Byzantine churches consisting of the entrance or lobby area, located at the west end of the nave, opposite the church’s main altar.


A tetraconch, from the Greek for “four shells”, as in this example, is a church or with four apses, one in each direction of equal size. The primary ground plan of the building is, therefore, a Greek cross. They are most common in Byzantine architecture.

Did you know?

  1. The name of the church, Metamorphosis tou Sotiros means the Transfiguration of the Saviour.
  2. A coin was discovered in the dome dating the construction to around 1350.
  3. Graves were discovered located inside the church, under the roof and surrounding the building, indicating it was used as a sepulchral chapel to a Byzantine monastery.

Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros – Photo Gallery

Church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros


“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
– John the Baptist


Photo Credit: JOM