S.ta Maria de Armenis

At the end of the street, there is a portal surmounted by a round arch bearing the inscription Santa Maria de Armenis: Madonna of the Armenians, whom the Armenians, who were one of the ethnic groups making up the Byzantine army, probably brought with them as an object of worship when they came to Matera.  It features decorative architectural elements forming a series of half lunettes and archlets and leads to the Church of Santa Maria de Armenis, documented as early as 1094.  The church is composed of a nave and two apsidal aisles with arches on which there are still some traces of ancient paintings.  A handsome decorated portal leads to a large courtyard, which is overlooked, by the windows of the old monastery.  This was one of the rock-churches, along with the Church of Santa Lucia ed Agata in the Malve district and the hypogea-church of Santa Maria della Valle in the quarter of La Vaglia, that are evidence of an earlier Benedictine presence on Materan territory near, but not actually in, the city since before the year 1000.  It was not until the arrival of the Normans during the C12th, however, that this became significant.  The church was home to the Confraternity of St. Francis of Paola from 1640 to 1774, when the new theological institution was built and the church was amalgamated with the Seminary.  It was used as a quarry until being finally abandoned with the exodus from the Sassi.
The complex is now used for various cultural events such as exhibitions, concerts and gastronomic conventions.