Nea Moni of Chios
The monastery was founded in the middle of the 11th century, with a donation of the emperor Constantine IX Monomachos and his wife, Zoe. For many centuries it was the most important religious centre on Chios but was repeatedly destroyed in the 19th century. It was plundered by the Turks in 1822 and was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1881, which caused the collapse of the dome, the belltower, the apse of the sanctuary of the catholicon, as well as the destruction of many mosaics. In modern times, many efforts have been made for the restoration of the monument and the preservation of the mosaics in the catholicon.
In 1857, the abbot of the monastery Gregorios Photeinos carried out extensive restoration work in the catholicon, and completely altered its external appearance. The dome of the church, which had collapsed in the earthquake of 1881, was reconstructed in 1900. In the 1960's the mosaics were restored and since then, restoration has been carried out from time to time in several buildings of the monastic complex.
World Heritage Classification, UNESCO
- Date of Inscription - 1990
- Reference No. 537
- Criteria: (i) and (iv)
- Geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries (the first is in Attica, near Athens, the second in Phocida near Delphi, and the third on an island in the Aegean Sea, near Asia Minor) belong to the same typological series and share the same aesthetic characteristics. The churches are built on a cross-in-square plan with a large dome supported by squinches defining an octagonal space. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the 'second golden age of Byzantine art'.
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