The Temple has actualy two names. The one is that of Agia Sofia and the other is of Panagia Hodegetria. It is an octagonal domed church with a room on the south side. It was build in the 12th century (1149-1150) Its sculptured decoration dates back to the 12th century and its wall-paintings belong to the late 12th-early 13th century.Literaly and oral tradition link the church wtih emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328). It is identified as the church dedicated to Virgin Hodegetria mentioned in Historical documents. After the Greek War of Independence(1821) it was dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God, because it was considered to be a faithful copy of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Istanbul). During the Second Venetian occupation (1960-1715) it was the katholikon of a monastery of a Catholic order dedicated to the Madona del Carmine, with the addition of a two-storey outer-nartex. It functioned again as a moquue in the second Turkish period (1715-1821) and returned to the Christian faith after the liberatin of the town (1821). The dates 1827 and 1845 inscribed on its west side correspond to repairs of the church. The monument was restored by Eustathios Stikas in 1958/59.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.