Going up the stairs from the square of Saint Spyridon, you will find it on your right hand. The area, also known as "Frangomahala", is named after the Franks who lived there.
The historian Lambrynidis testifies, that it is possible that in this position a nunnery of the Western doctrine pre-existed during the years of Frankish rule (1212-1389), proposing its identification with a monastery, which is mentioned in the will of the Duke of Athens Nerio Acciaiuoli, of 1394. However, Lambrinidis mentions elsewhere, that in this place there was an "ancient Venetian temple".
The current form of the monument clearly refers to a mosque, which the local tradition attributes to Fatmeh, the widow of Aga Pasha, who allegedly erected it in memory of her husband, after his sudden death. In 19th-century historic sources, it is testified as "the mosque of Its Kale" ("mosque of the inner fortress"), from the Turkish name of Akronafplia, due to the fact that the mosque was built on its northern slopes.
The concession to the Catholic Church
In 1839, with the mediation of King Otto, the Municipality of Nafplio granted the mosque to the Catholic Church, for the ecclesiastical needs of the approximately three hundred Greek and foreign Catholics - mainly the Bavarian soldiers who belonged to the king's entourage. King Otto dedicated the temple to the Metamorphosis of the Savior, to commemorate the transformation of Greece after the liberation from the Ottomans.
After certain repairs, the church was inaugurated in 1840. This building has strong similarities with the "Vouleftiko" (Old Parliament building), both in form and in the construction, except that it is built on a smaller scale. It is oriented to the southeast, towards Mecca, has heavy proportions and a low hemispherical dome. It is built according to the isodomic carved masonry.
As for the interior, it is worth mentioning the simple wooden arch, donated by the French officer and warm philhellene Augustus Hilarion Touret, which adorns the inner side of the temple's entrance and dates back to 1841. The arch, which became known as the "Touret arch", is made of pine wood and has the shape of an ancient Greek temple's facade. On the columns, in white, the names of foreign Philhellenes are marked and the place where they fell, while on the pediment there is the coat of arms and the crown of Otto inside the cross of the fighters. The church was also decorated by an oil-painting bearing a representation of the Holy Family (Sacra Famiglia), a copy of Raphael's work. The painting is a donation of King Philip of France (1843).
Did you know that?
Northwest of the church, there is an underground vaulted crypt, 3 m. deep, older than the mosque, which served as a tank.
In 1839 the bones of the Philhellenes, as well as of the Bavarian soldiers of Otto's entourage were gathered in the crypt, who had died of a typhoid epidemic in 1833 and 1834 and were initially buried in the old cemetery of Nafplio, near the church of All Saints ("Agioi Pantes").
To the west side of the church, there was a ground floor Ottoman bath; after the rendering of the temple to the Catholics was converted into an elder and an exhibition space of relics and books, with the addition of a floor. Its masonry is similar to that of the Catholic Church, the Parliament (Vouleftiko) and the ground floor of the madrasa.
The state of preservation of the monument is good. At times, small-scale maintenance work has been carried out on the temple, while the crypt has been restored.
Also, the painting with the representation of the Holy Family has been preserved in 1989 and the "Touret arch" in 2002.
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