St. Mary's Church in the village of Labova e Kryqit in Gjirokstra Analyses of the Church's Construction Stages, its Age and Some Static Issues

Reshat Gega


St. Mary's Church, which is situated in the village of Labova e Kryqit (translated as Labova of the Cross in English) and falls under the municipality of Libohova, has brought to the repertoire of the Albanian Medieval Architecture the brilliant demonstration of one of the most wonderful architectonic formulation and such a great iconographic program in terms of its functions, the decoration of the interior and exterior that it might be compared to its equals in the elite of this genre in the Byzantine culture worldwide. The architectonic type of this church is defined as a cross imprinted with the upper volumes of its arms extending up to the level of the roof. Viewed from the perspective of the formulation of the compositional core area which consists of the square structure formed by four columns with three arcades among them to create the cubic base sustaining the tambour of the dome, this type of church provides the best example of a metropolitan style of church and shares similarities with other churches alike. Similar churches are found in the complex of Theotokos Peribleptos in Constantinople, built by the famous emperor Romano III Argjiro, v.1028-1034. Oher similar churches that we can mention are also the church of Teorakos Parnrnakaristos, in Constantinople, dating from the XII century, Monastery of Saint John, in Libos (Fenari Isa Cami) in Constantinople which dates from the X-XII century, Saint George Church in Mangano, 1042-1057, etc.

Keywords: St. Mary's Church, the village Labova e Kryqit, Gjirokastra, cupola, arcade, static condition, byzantine architecture; restoration.

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