EnglishGreekDeutschFrenchItalianRussian
Crete TOURnet: Home Путеводитель Churches in Crete The Three-Aisled Basilica

The Three-Aisled Basilica

The triple-aisled church of the Palianis Monastery
The triple-aisled church of the Palianis Monastery
The first architectural style of Byzantine churches was developed during the early years of the Empire (4C to 6C A.D.). Called "Three-aisled Basilica(Trikliti Vasiliki), it was a rectangular room, typically of a length double the size of its width, separated into three parts or aisles (kliti) along its longer dimension. The central aisle (klitos) was often wider and higher than the other two, allowing light to enter through windows. Frequently there were three doors in one side of the church for entry to each aisle. The aisles were separated by arches and marble columns, which commonly had decorations on the capital (kionokrana). The floor was often mosaic with simple representations. The priest’s stand was at the end of the central aisle, opposite to the side of the entrance doors. In some cases, a fourth aisle was placed at right angles to the other three aisles, in front of the priest's stand. In some other cases, a smaller aisle or separate room was constructed just inside the entrance, at right angles to the three other aisles (a prothalamos or narthex). This is where non baptized persons could attend the liturgy.
The remains of over 40 basilicas have been found in Crete. One of the oldest three-aisled basilica on Crete is the Panagia Paliani in Venerato, which was referred to from 668 A.D. as "Palai(old). Capitals of marble columns from earlier buildings can be seen in several places. Another old basilica with marble capitals from columns taken from older buildings is the church of Agios Pandeleimonas in Bizariano (Pigi), Pediadas. Mosaic floors of basilicas with representations of fish are in Elounda, Lassithi, and with representations of birds in Sougia, Selino. The three-aisled basilica of Agios Ioannis in Liliano, Pediada, has a room (narthex) immediately after the door at vertical angles to the three aisles. The remains of the basilica in Panormon, Milopotamos, show a fourth aisle at right angles to the other three which is on the opposite side of the church to the entrance. The aisle extends more than the width of the three other aisles to form a T. There are remains of ancient basilicas in Vizari, Amari and Itanos, Sitia.

Photos of The Three-Aisled Basilica:


Remains of the three-aisled basilica in Ellinika, Vizari
Remains of the three-aisled basilica in Ellinika, Vizari
The three-aisled Byzantine church of Agios Pandeleimonas, Pigi
The three-aisled Byzantine church of Agios Pandeleimonas, Pigi
The basilica of Agios Ioannis in Liliano
The basilica of Agios Ioannis in Liliano
Mosaics from the 6C basilica in Sougia
Mosaics from the 6C basilica in Sougia
First Byzantine period basilica in Itanos
First Byzantine period basilica in Itanos
Mosaic floor in the basilica of Elounda
Mosaic floor in the basilica of Elounda
Agia Sofia - the three-aisled basilica in Panormon
Agia Sofia - the three-aisled basilica in Panormon
The triple-aisled church of the Palianis Monastery
The triple-aisled church of the Palianis Monastery