The Monastery of Dafni is located in Haidari, on the outskirts of Mount Egaleo, on the Athens Avenue, 11 km from the centre of Athens, and is built on the site of the former Sanctuary of Apollo in Dafni. Its impressive architecture and the special mosaic decoration of the monastery’s church make it one of the most outstanding monuments of Byzantine art. Since 1990 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The monastery was founded in the 6th century on the ruins of the temple of Dafnaeus Apollo, which was destroyed by the Goths in 395. Some Ionic columns of the ancient temple were reused. Today only one has survived, while the rest were transported to London by Lord Elgin.
The catholic church of the monastery dates back to the late 11th century and belongs to the architectural type of the octagonal cruciform church. In this type the central space of the nave is enlarged by replacing the four columns supporting the dome with eight columns placed closer to the walls. The arrangement of the columns, which forms a peristyle around the central space and preserves the cross-shaped arches on the roof with the interposition of semi-columns between them, characterises in particular the so-called complex octagonal (or ‘continental’) type of Middle Byzantine church architecture.
In the catholic of the monastery there are mosaics, the best preserved of the first period (Komnenoi Dynasty, c. 1100), represented by the austere and priestly depiction of Christ the Almighty inside the dome, a main characteristic of the Macedonian period.
After the sacking of the monastery by the Crusaders in 1205, Otto de la Roche, Duke of Athens, ceded it to the Cistercian monks. The French monks rebuilt the exonarthex, added an enclosure around the monastery and other changes until their expulsion by the Turks, when the monastery was handed over to the Orthodox monks again in 1458. Over the centuries the monastery became deserted. Restoration work began only in 1888.
Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.
Sorry, unable to load the Maps API.