Metamorphosis of Sotera

In the beginning of the Kydathinaion street, at the centre of Plaka, is the Byzantine church of the Metamorphosis of Sotera (Transfiguration of Christ), which is known as the church of Sotera Kottakis, a name that is related to its founder. It was constructed in the beginning of the 11th century and belonged to the type of the cross-in-church, with a dome that is supported by four columns. On its eastern side three semi-circular tall arches are shaped. The initial Byzantine core of the church has been altered today and survives only on the eastern side and at the dome. The first damages were probably made during the Greek Revolution, while large scale unfortunate interventions were made in the period 1847-1855, while the monument has been given to the Russian community of Athens. The Russians, in order to accommodate their needs for worship, expanded the building, adding oblong areas on the northern, southern and western side. Later, in 1908, they added a spacious area on the west and the church took the shape of a three-aisled basilica. The western area was expanded more in the year 1917 and then two bell towers were added. The church’s masonry, as it survives on the eastern side, is a simple cloisonné one. The dome is of the “Athenian” type, octagonal with marble columns on the corners and lobed windows. At the interior of the church, the surviving wall paintings are post Byzantine ones, from the 18th and the 19th century, and the marble screen is a work that was carried out in
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