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Near the ancient / late antique city of Tamasos, outside modern Politiko (Nicosia district) on the west bank of the Pediaios at 400m a.s.l. [Papacostas (1995) Gazetteer 15]. The site hosted the cult centre of Herakleidios, an early Christian bishop of Tamasos [Halkin (1964); Esbroeck (1985)], and today houses a functioning monastery which is not attested, however, before the 18th century [Stylianou (1957) 97-98 and Grishin (1996) 79-81; Kyprianos (1788) 392; see also Kyriazes (1950) 49; Clerides (1968) 31-35].

Description: The large three-aisled timber roofed basilica with a horse-shoe shaped apse was erected over a 5th-century column basilica after the latter’s destruction by fire in the 7th century (?) and next to the mid-4th century martyrium which was believed to house the tomb of Herakleidios [Papageorgiou (1975) 190-91 and Papageorgiou (1982a) 469; a vaulted scheme had been suggested earlier: Papageorgiou (1966a) 221]. Only the pier arcades of this timber roofed basilica survive, incorporated within a smaller later church, and identified and dated through the fresco decoration they bear (south arcade: easternmost pier and third pier from the east) [Papageorgiou (1965a) 42, Papageorgiou (1968a) 236].

Dating: An 8th-century date is implied by the architecture (use of piers) and the fragments of fresco decoration on the south pier arcade [BCH 89 (1965) 297-98; MKE 5, 329-33; Papageorgiou (1965a) 32, Papageorgiou (1993) 46].

Later additions / alterations: The pier basilica was in use throughout the medieval period and it was destroyed some time before the 14th century Then a new domed mausoleum was built over the tomb in the Lusignan period, and a single-aisled vaulted church was erected in the 15th century over the nave. The present north aisle (over the original north aisle) and the narthex (now a portico) were added in the 17th century, while further alterations were made in the 18th century [Papacostas (1995) Gazetteer 15.d; Gunnis (1936) 396-97].

Modern repairs: The interior of the present church and the area outside were partly excavated in the mid-1960s, revealing fragments of a mosaic floor and the foundations of the late antique basilica and its successors [a detailed report can be found in Papageorgiou (1965a) 38-43; see also AD 20 (1965) 614-15; BCH 89 (1965) 297-98]; the south arcade pier frescoes were cleaned in 1967 [Papageorgiou (1968a) 236].

Early literature: The church and monastery are described by Barskij in 1735 and Jeffery [Stylianou (1957) 97-98 and Grishin (1996) 79-81; Jeffery (1918) 212-14].

Views: Stylianou (1957) pl. 29 and Grishin (1996) pl. 14 [Barskij’s drawing].

Plan / section: Papageorgiou (1986) 502 [detailed plan showing various building phases].