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Church of St. John the Baptist
Kertch and surrounding
Architecture,  Temples, Churches
Architecture, 
Temples, Churches

According to local legend, the Church of St. John the Baptist, which is one of the oldest churches in Russia, was erected in Kerch with the blessing of one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, in whose honor it got its name. The main relic of the temple is a stone plaque with the imprint of his foot, where the rainwater is considered healing. The exact dates of the construction of the main shrine of the city are still debated. The magnificent monument of Byzantine architecture keeps in its foundation the remains of the oldest temple of the 6th century. The biggest part of the modern church was erected in the 10th century. Ceramic amphorae of the 8th century were found in the masonry of the walls. At that time, they were used for better acoustics. The bell tower of the temple dates back to the 19th century and belongs to the Italian architect Alexander Digby, who built the famous staircase leading to the top of Mount Mithridates. The medieval frescoes tell the history of the temple during the period of the Crimean Khanate when there was a Muslim mosque within its walls. The outlines of the original 14th-century frescoes can still be seen today, due to the extensive restoration of the church at the end of the 20th century. The rest interior of the temple consists of grey marble columns and capitals, as well as antique gravestone steles mounted in the southern wall. The ancient relics of the church, including a wooden bowl of the 6th century with images of Christ the Savior and the Crucifixion, the Mother of God and St. John the Baptist, and two silver bowls of the 16th-17th centuries and the end of the 18th century deserve special attention. In the church library, ancient Greek manuscripts could be seen, including the Gospel of the 11th century. However, the years of the Great Patriotic War destroyed most of the works of sacred art.

Address: Dmitrov lane, 2

Published by

Polina Kovalenko

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