The starting point of the lecture are observations from Mistra where churches were built on a steeply sloping rock. Already the selection of the building sites provides us with interesting clues about the rank of the buildings that were erected under special conditions. But also the 'setting' of the monastery buildings in the vicinity of the catholicon of a monastery reveals how effectively the available building ground was used. Probably, as a result of the special topographical situation, the so-called "Mistra type" was created.
Beyond the special conditions in Mistra, however, it is noticeable that the positioning of the sanctuary takes place as directly as possible on or in the rock. This peculiarity will be thoroughly examined in the second part of the lecture. It relates to the question as to what the significance of building on or even in the rock was in sacral architecture. In addition to a brief reference to ancient building traditions, particularly eastern Mediterranean examples from late antiquity will be considered.
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Lioba Theis Lioba Theis is Professor of Byzantine Art History at the Institute of Art History and the Institute of Byzantine Studies and Modern Greek Philology at the University of Vienna. She is currently the head of the Institute of Art History. She publishes books and articles mainly on Byzantine architecture. In addition, she organizes conferences and exhibitions – including exhibitions on the history of the Institute, as well as conferences, for example, on "Female Founders in Byzantium and Beyond." Most recently, she curated an exhibition at the Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul on "Archival Memories: Marcell Restle's Research in Anatolia and Beyond," which was published as a book in 2019. She is currently completing an extensive study on light and illumination in Byzantine sacred architecture.