Apollonia, Central basilica

Apollonia: city in the Cyrenaica, port of Cyrene.

Apollonia, central basilica
Apollonia, central basilica

The Central Basilica used to be the main church of Apollonia; it is mentioned by Synesius of Cyrene and must therefore date back to the fourth century CE. The apse is in the eastern part of this basilica; the entrance is to the west.

Today, the courtyard, the three naves, and the apse can be seen; the site of the altar can be recognized because four columns, which once supported a canopy, are still standing. Behind the apse was a baptistery, which is quite interesting because there was an oven next to it: the water was not cold, but warm.

The walls of the church are of poor quality, which is odd, because some of the marble columns and parts of the mosaics must have been very expensive. But the mosaics are incomplete and some columns are not made of marble. One theory is that the inhabitants were able to obtain a shipload of building materials, and had to improvise a bit when they built the church.

The church was, apparently, intentionally destroyed: the columns were undermined.