© Ministry of Culture and Sports, © 11th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities
The south side
One of the few surviving Byzantine monuments of Edessa, the former castle of Vodena, is the church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, which was the old metropolis of the city. It is located in the traditional quarter Varosi.

The church is a three-aisled basilica with an elevated central nave and a narthex in the west. It dates to the late-Byzantine period, but there is evidence that it was built, probably, during the mid-Byzantine period. Its original form, because of the continuous additions and repairs, especially during the Ottoman era, was greatly altered. Today, the monument is restored to its original form.

In the interior are preserved two layers of frescoes, of which the older one, covering most of the church, dates to the last decades of the 14th century and belongs to the artistic environment of Thessaloniki. The later frescoes, preserved mainly in the sanctuary and the upper parts of the central nave, date to the 17th century.

Remarkable elements of the temple are the Early Christian columns and the capitals that support the arches and especially the capital with embossed rams in the corners and eagles with prey on the sides, dating to the mid-5th century. Also the gold-plated, wood-carved iconostasis, dating to the 19th century, is made by skilled craftsmen.
G. Stalidis, archaeologist