BYZANTINE CHURCHES (Athens)


Archangel Michael, 14th cent. icon


THE OLD METROPOLIS (THE OLD CATHEDRAL)

You will find this charming little church near the new Metropolis, in the square of the same name. It is dedicated to Panayia Gorgoepikoos and Ayios Eleftherios. It was built at the end of the 12th century.

Ancient and Byzantine reliefs were used in its construction. On the church's facade, notice especially the Attic calendar of feasts on the ancient frieze, which comes from a monument of the 4th century.

It was used as the Orthodox episcopal See of Athens when the bishops were ousted from the Parthenon, first by the Francs and later by the Turks. From 1839 to 1842 the church was used as a library. The adjoining new Metropolis was built between 1842 and 1862 as the archiepiscopal church of Athens.


KAPNIKAREA

This is the little church you will see right in the middle of Ermou Street. A Byzantine cruciform, domed church dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary (Eisodia tis Theotokou). The initial building belongs to the 11th century, but it was completed in the 13th. Since 1931 it has belonged to the University of Athens.

In old days the church had several names: Camoucharea, Chryssocamouchariotissa , Panayia tis Vasilopoulas (Virgin of the King's daughter). Panayia tou Prenza (Virgin of the Prince). In 1834, when Ermou Street was constructed, there was some thought of transferring the church elsewere, even of demolishing it, because it stood in the way. It was saved by Ludwig of Bavaria. King Otto's father, and Neofytos Metaxas, bishop of Talantion and Vicar of Athens.


Athens Cathedral

AYIOI THEODOROI

This church was rebuilt in the second half of the 11th century, on the foundations of an older church of the 9th century. It was built by Nicolaos Kalomaos who had the Office of Spatharocandidatos (Office in the Byzantine Court).


AYIOS NIKOLAOS RANGAVAS

You will find it in Plaka 's Anafiotika neighbourhood, near the Monument of Lysikrates. It was built in the 11th century and was part of the Palace of the Rangavas family, a member of which, Michael I was Emperor of Byzantium. The whole area around the church was once called Rangavas.


SOTIRA LYKODIMOU

This is the largest medieval structure in Athens. It was built in 1031 as part of a Roman Catholic monastery that survived until 1701. The building was restored by Czar Alexander II in the 1850s, who also offered the belfry. It is now used as the Russian Orthodox Church of Athens.


AYIOI APOSTOLOI TOU SOLAKI

The church is located within the excavation area of the Ancient Agora. It is one of the oldest (AD 1000-1025) churches of Athens, and it was built above the ruins of a Roman nymphaeon of the 2nd century. In the 1950s it was restored to its original form. Several post Byzantine frescos of the demolished church of Ayios Spyridon were transferred here at the time.


Dafni Manastery, mosaic

AYIOS IOANNIS STIN KOLONA

This little 12th century chapel has a Roman column towering over its roof to which it owes its strange name (kolona: column). Ayios Ioannis the Baptist is thought to be the healer of all sicknesses of the head. Many votive gifts can be seen on the column, offered in thanks for help granted by the ayios.


AYIOS IOANNIS THEOLOGOS

A very beautiful church of the 11th-12th century. It is a cruciform church at the crossroads of Erotokritou and Erechtheos Streets, in Plaka.


AYIOI ASOMATOI

A cruciform church of the 11th century. It stands north of the Theseion .


TAXIARCHES

It stands in Kolonaki. The church belongs to the 18th century Moni Petraki, but itself was probably built in the 12th century. Inside the crossdomed church you can see frescos that date from 1719.


SOTIRA TOU KOTAKI

Better known as Ayia Sotira, this church is in Plaka, on Kydathenaeon Street, just across from the Museum of Greek Folk Art. It was built in the 11th-12th century and has undergone many alterations and additions through the years.


Church of Ayioi Apostoloi

METOCHI TOU PANAYIOU TAFOU

You will find it on Erechtheos Street. It is a small monastery belonging to the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The church of the monastery, Ayioi Anarghyroi, dates from the 17th century.


AYIOS GEORGIOS

This is the white church you can see from afar, at the top of Lycavittos Hill. You can reach it either on foot or by the funicular. It is said that in ancient times on this site stood the temple of the Akraios Zeus. During the Frankish occupation its place was taken by a small chapel of Prophetis Elias, which in turn gave its place to Ayios Georgios the Rider. The exact date of its construction is not known. The bell was a gift from Queen Olga, who had found the church in ruins and taken it under her patronage.


PANAYIA CHRYSSOCASTRIOTISSA

One of the many churches you can find in Anafiotika. Tradition says that when the Turks entered the Acropolis, women and children threw themselves down from the cliffs so as not to be captured. The miraculous icon of Panayia saved them all. Since then the church has been a refuge for women and children in peril.


AYIA AIKATERINI

It lies near the monument of Lysikrates. This church was built in the 11th-12th century and stands in the middle of a small palm tree shaded square, in the corner of which you can see the ruins of a Roman monument.


AYIOI ISIDOROI

It is a tiny church hidden inside a rock in the middle of Lycavittos Hill. It is built inside a big cave, which the old Athenians called the church of Ayios Sidereas. The church was burnt down in 1930 and was rebuilt in 1931.


THE KAISARIANI MONASTERY

One of the most important and richest monasteries in Greece. It is devoted to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. It was built in AD 1100 above a Roman temple , which was in turn built above an ancient temple in the lonian order , dedicated to the goddesses Demeter and Aphrodite. In the katholikon you can still see the columns of the ancient temple. See the monks' cells, the bath, the kitchen and the chapel of Ayios Antonios.



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