Cyprus, Livadia, Church of the Panagia Kyra

Era 6AD - 12AD
Location Livadia, Cyprus
Placement need to check location

The church at Livadia in North Cyprus is a very small church - the apse is only 2.1 metres in diameter. This building has been dated to the twelfth century and described as a typical Middle Byzantine church. Here there used to be a mosaic. I am told that nothing now survives.

Photographs taken by A.H.S. Megaw (Director of Antiquities on Cyprus from 1935-1960) and now in the British School at Athens show what was once there. The mosaic as Megaw saw it was incomplete. Most of the body of Mary is shown, standing in the centre of the apse, her hands upraised in prayer. Traces of a garland and feet suggest that angels flanked the apse. Tesserae in gold, silver and blue glass survive; surviving red tesserae seem all to be painted marble. Megaw noted that marble tesserae were also used, notably for flesh parts, and that some of these marble pieces were very small indeed and allowed the flesh to be modelled with great subtlety. The gold background was set in a rising fish-scale pattern (that’s Megaw’s phrase: I think carpet tile), a design used in floor mosaics (at the Great Palace of Constantinople in the sixth century, for example) but not preserved in gold backgrounds elsewhere until the fourteenth-century and the Deesis panel in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.