The distinction of the European Cultural Heritage Prize / Europa Nostra won the Byzantine church of Naxos Hagia Kyriaki for its unique series of wall paintings dating back to the 9th century. The restoration of the Hagia Kyriaki frescoes was made thanks to the cooperation of Greek and Swiss organizations, according to the official announcement.

The church of Hagia Kyriaki is located in Kalloni, about 3 km from the settlement of Apeiranthos. It dates back to the period of Iconoclasm, around the 9th century, and is one of the most important Byzantine monuments not only of Naxos, but also of the Balkans.

“The church is of unique importance, thanks to the well preserved aniconic first layer of paintings in its interior. Aniconic frescoes of this period, which are limited to crosses, animals, geometric and floral patterns, are evidence of the dispute over the representation of human figures in ecclesiastical art that affected the Byzantine Empire for over a century and examples of which have been preserved in only a very small number of cases. Among these, the wall paintings of Hagia Kyriaki are the ones best preserved in the Cyclades group of islands”.

The winners of the prize will be honored at a ceremony to be held on June 22 in Berlin, during the first Summit to be held on European Cultural Heritage.