Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Moni Daphniou( The Byzantine Monastery of Daphni)

a stunning wallpainting of Jesus pantocrator 

Moni Daphniou A Unesco world heritage sight
For those who are interested in seeing Byzantine monuments or early Christian buildings the Daphni monastery is an interesting place to visit.

The Monastery is located in Downtown Athens in a municipality called Chaidari. The surrounding area is idyllic. Behind the monastery there's a forest and near it a park that contains a playground, tennis and basketball courts and a big bust of Alexander the great.Every year in August the municipality organizes a wine festival nearby the monastery were people drink free wine and listen live music.

Some historical tips:
At the sight were the monastery is, in antiquity there was a sanctuary of the Greek god Apollo which was destroyed by a Gothic raid in the 4rth century A.D. The road on which it is situated is called "The sacred way" because it was the route that the participants of the ancient Greek ritual called Eleusinian mysteries should follow.

The monastery was found in the 6th century and many of the Apollo's temple columns were used to be built. However today you can only see one of them as the rest were taken by Lord Elgin to Britain.

The biggest attraction of the monastery is its main church that was built in the 11th century. In the interior there are complex mosaics which depict religious events and are the best examples of Byzantine art of the period and at the dome you can see a big image of Christ pantocrator(almighty) which stuns you with its austere look.
The site was declared a World heritage site in 1990.

The best way to visit the sight is by taxi. I think that from the center of Athens the taxi fare will be approximately 10 euros.

Currently there are still restoration works from the 1999 earthquake and entrance in the church may not be allowed some days of the week.

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