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Alahan Monastery

Alahan Monastery is a ruined complex of ecclesiastical structures on the boundary between Isauria and Lykaonia. The ruins occupy an artificial ledge on a mountainside, approximately 250 m long and 30 m wide. They consist of a cave chapel (the earliest feature on the site), a three-aisled basilica that retains an impressive carved doorway and, some l to m farther east, another church lacking only its roof. The east church was covered by a central tower on squinches, probably terminating in a pyramidal timber roof. The two main churches were joined by a colonnaded walk, along which were built a baptistery and other structures. Notable architectural sculpture survives. Funerary inscriptions of Tarasis (died 462), builder of apanteteria (meeting rooms), and of the junior Tarasis, who served as paramonarios from 461 onward, provide chronological confirmation for the attribution of the bulk of the complex to the reign of Zeno. During a secondary phase a smaller church was built in the nave of the west basilica. The cave church, baptistery, and living quarters were also repaired, but the east church remained derelict. The generally accepted assumption that Alahan was a monastery appears incorrect, so that its proposed identification with "the monastery at Apadnas in Isauria" that was rebuilt by Justinian I should be abandoned. It was more probably a pilgrimage shrine.

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Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium


Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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