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Art in Serres

An inscribed funerary relief
he only archaeological relics of the first period of Serres are a few black-glazed potsherds excavated at Acropolis (6th or 7th century BC), while the finds of the Roman period are more abundant: marble slabs with bas-relief representations and funerary inscriptions, both flattering and unflattering. The most ancient sculptures which have been found in Serres date from the Roman period while painting from ancient times are non-existent.

The Apostle St-Andreas Painting flourished in Serres only during the latest Byzantine period. The famous Monastery of St. John the Baptist, founded in 1276, was an important center of a sustained painting movement and the 14th century wall paintings of the monastery are among the most significant on our country.

The most outstanding relic of Serres is the large Rectangular Hellenistic Triconch basilica of Saints Theodore's (commonly known as "Old Cathedral"). The Old Cathedral , dedicated to SS. Theodore, is a large aisle basilica of In the apse is a huge mosaic of the Last Supper, still splendid in its decay. It was first commissioned during the paleochristian era. At the NW part there is a burial chapel, probably built in 1364 for Patriarch Kallistos.

The neighbouring Agios Nicolas, an attractive cross-in-square, has an exonarthex wider than the building. Its orthogonal drummed small domes are ornamented with brick decoration. It is a cemetery church with a crypt underground, probably dating from the first half of the 14th century. It was restored in 1935-1948 and it is one of the very few churches with 2 levels. Considerable architectural monuments of the early 14th century are also the churches of St. George Kryonerites, & St. John Prodromos (Prodromoudi) in the east part of the city. It was donated and became a monastery dependency of the monastery of St. John the Baptist in 1344. Two decayed Mosques, picturesque if unimportant, show where the former Turkish quarter lay. In the central square, opposite the City Hall (Demarchion), is a huge edifice with six domes which has seen Moslem and Christian worship in turn and is now an archaeological store. It was built around 1385.

The cultural centre There are no old mansions nor private buildings that survive in Serres due to the frequent destruction and especially due to the last burning in 1913. A characteristic example of the Macedonian order of popular architecture is the house of Zapara, in northern suburbs.

Apart from the old art monuments, in Serres the visitor can admire some creations of neo-classical and modern architecture. A typical sample of neo-classical architecture is the Prefecture, built at the end of the 19th century by the architect Xenofon Paeonidis, while the brand new state-of-art City Cultural Center is the most outstanding of the creations of modern architecture in Serres.

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