Saint Anne Church Trapezounta (Trabzon), Turkey

March 22, 2020
Sam Topalidis

Located in the eastern suburbs of Trapezounta (Trabzon) on the Black Sea in Turkey, Saint Anne is the oldest surviving church in Trapezounta.  It was built before 884 and was an important mortuary chapel in the late 14th and early 15th century. It remained in Greek hands until 1923, when the Greeks were forced to leave under the Population Exchange. After the Greeks left, it was used as a residence. Sadly, the fires lit inside the church blackened the frescoes on the walls (Talbot Rice 1929–30).

It is a small triple-apsed barrel vaulted basilica and the interior of the church was entirely painted, notably with scenes from the Joachim and Anne cycle. Joachim and Anne were believed to be the Virgin Mary’s parents (Bryer and Winfield 1985).

In 2018, the Saint Anne Church was open to tourists. It still has traces of frescoes inside. The interior walls are sadly still covered in soot which must be covering, if they haven’t destroyed, nearly all the existing wall paintings. When entering this church you are in awe that this over 1,100 years-old building is still standing.



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