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Destination Details

Gjirokaster, Albania

The church is one of the most interesting monuments in Albania, the church of Labova, which is devoted to Saint Mary. The church of Labova e Kryqit is one of the oldest in Albania and once contained a holy relic believed to be a fragment of the true cross. It was from this relic that the village took its name. The relic was stolen during the civil unrest in the early 1990s.  The building is typically Byzantine with a high central cupola with nave and aisles arranged in a cruciform plan. A later narthex provides the principal entrance.  There are nine distinct levels of frescos painting on the interior walls. The church that we see today is essentially a creation of the 13th century, during the time of the Despots of Epirus, although an original foundation may go back to AD 527-565 and the reign of Emperor Justinian.

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