Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Albania, the Church of Labova e Kryqit stands as a captivating testament to history and faith. This remarkable monument, dedicated to Saint Mary, beckons travelers to explore its ancient halls and discover the treasures within.
To reach this hidden gem, venture along the road leading to Libohova, branching off from the highway south of Gjirokastra. As you make your way towards Labova e Kryqit, the recently paved road to Suha will guide you, eventually leading to a gentle ascent into the hills. Though the path may diverge, both routes will ultimately guide you to the hilltop where Labova e Kryqit majestically awaits. The entire journey spans approximately 40 minutes, offering a scenic drive through picturesque landscapes.
The Church of Labova e Kryqit stands as one of the oldest in Albania, bearing witness to centuries of history. Its Byzantine architectural style, characterized by a prominent central dome and a carefully designed cross-shaped layout, evokes a sense of awe and reverence. As you enter through the narthex, added in later years, the church reveals its true grandeur.
Inside, the walls of Labova e Kryqit come alive with the vibrant colors of frescoes, spanning an impressive nine distinct levels. These masterful artworks provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region, showcasing the artistic prowess of Byzantine craftsmen. Among its many notable features, Labova e Kryqit boasts a unique wooden iconostasis, adorned with intricate floral motifs and zoomorphic elements. The iconostasis, a true masterpiece, captures the essence of Albanian identity with its depictions of local figures in traditional attire.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Labova e Kryqit is its association with a sacred relic believed to be a part of the true cross of Christ. Steeped in legend and history, this church has been a spiritual sanctuary for centuries, drawing pilgrims and curious minds alike.
The Labova Cross, a focal point within the church, is a remarkable piece of artistry. Its octagonal shape, adorned with floral motifs symbolizing the Tree of Life, adds a touch of symbolism and spiritual depth. Surrounding the central scene of Christ's Baptism, the cross showcases the depiction of Prophet-King David on the right side, along with other prophets such as Isaiah and Daniel. These intricate details and iconographic elements bring the cross to life, telling stories of faith and devotion.
While Labova e Kryqit holds a special place in the hearts of locals, its significance is often overlooked. Now, it is time to shed light on this cultural treasure and unravel the mysteries it holds. Delve into the historical sources and discover the rich tapestry of crosses within Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, recognizing Labova Cross as a distinct and important artifact. Let us appreciate the craftsmanship and symbolism that make Labova e Kryqit an invaluable part of Albania's cultural heritage.
So, embark on a journey to Labova e Kryqit, where history and spirituality converge. Immerse yourself in the profound beauty of this ancient church, and unlock the secrets that lie within its hallowed walls.
37FR+F4 Labovë e Poshtme, Albania