Karanlik Church

The access is by a narrow entrance with a few steps. The frescoes date from the 11th century or from the beginning of the 12th century. The whole forms a complex. The grounds of the monastery and the church opens onto the north, whereas the western part surround a small courtyard which is in ruins.

On the mass of rocks in the south of the courtyard the space is shared by two storeys. On the lower storey is an entrance leading to room with flat ceiling, the south wall is divided in three sections by pilasters and each section is ornamented with blind arches in the shape of horseshoes. Three doors give access to the inner space. In the east is a refectory of which the table and the benches are of stone. On the upper storey are rooms. The one in the north is at the entrance level and divided into four sections covered with cupolas and barrel-vaults. The northern facade is in ruins at present. However, what remains behind in the east indicates that the facade had a blind arch in the shape of a horseshoe. The entry to the church is from the east wall.

A passage with a flight of stairs which stretches from the entrance to the inner space of the mass of rocks is linked with the narthex of the building. On the south of the narthex having the shape of a rectangle with barrel-vault is a tomb of modest dimensions. It has three apses. The central space, the eastern arm of the cross and the square space are covered by cupolas while the other arms of the cross are barrel-vaulted. The entrance door and the main apse are flanked by seats, one on each side.

The church and the narthex are impressive. The Gospel-cycle, the figures of theologians as well the hospitality of Abraham are illustrated. Among the scenes we should particularly note: Annunciation, Voyage to Betlehem, Adoration of the Magi, Baptism, Raising from the dead of Lazarus, Transfiguration, Entry to Jerusalem, Last Supper, Betrayal of Judas, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Women at the Empty Tomb, Benediction of the Apostles and their Mission, and Ascension of Jesus Christ. The frescoes which have been restored today enable the visitor to follow the story illustrated.