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Daphni Monastery

Greece, Chaidari, (Attika)

Daphni Monastery

per person

The Daphni Monastery lies in Chaidari along the route of the ancient Hiera Odos to Eleusis.

It stands on a site where in the antiquity was the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnaios; the latter was destroyed in 395 when the Goths invaded Attica. The only still visible remain in situ is an Ionic column in the medieval narthex. According to an opinion, in the 6th century a basilica was erected on the same place which was later abandoned. However, this opinion has been lately strongly disputed. In the 11th century (around 1080), the still existing church was erected and decorated with magnificent mosaics. After the Fourth Crusade, the area was awarded to Othon de la Roche, the Lord of Athens whereas the monastery was given to the Cistercian monks from Belleveaux. The Western monks remained in the monastery until 1458, when Athens was captured by the Turks. After that date, it was reoccupied by Orthodox monks. The building suffered severe damages 1889 and 1897 by earthquakes.


The preserved katholikon (main monastic church) is a cross in-square church of the octagonal type with a broad and high dome. It consists of a narthex while an exonarthex was build in the 12th century. In the 13th century was constructed the porch in the west façade of the narthex with obvious western influences. During the Cistercian phase, in the narthex and the exonarthex was added a second floor. It was probably used as a library. Finally, a crypt under the narthex there is a crypt

The masonry does not have any peculiarities; on the contrary it is simple cloisonné with few decorative elements.

The monastery was protected by walls and the main entrance was to the south. The cells of the monks were located to the north and western side, and they were two-storey buildings. Also the trapeza (refectory) has been identified with a building north of the katholikon which had wall paintings.

The mosaics at Dafni are dated in the 11th century and are of unique quality and elegance. The depicted scenes relate  to the iconographic circles of the Life of Christ and the Virgin; figures such as archangels, prophets, saints, martyrs, bishops as well as scenes are put on specific places following a specific arrangement in the dome, the cross-arms, the sanctuary and the eso-narthex.

On the lower level of the walls were to be found marble slabs which unfortunately were removed and replaced by wall paintings in the 17th century.



Información de la localidad

Daphni Monastery
Other monuments and places to visitOther monuments id Attika such as the monastery of Kaisariani
Natural Heritage
Historical Recreations
Festivals of Tourist Interest
Tourist Office
Specialized Guides
Guided visits
AccommodationsVarious hotels around the monastery
RestaurantsMany restaurants nearby
Monument or place to visitDaphni Monastery
StyleRemains of the 11th century, 12th, 13th and 18th centuries
TypeMonastic architecture
Epoch11th century, 12th, 13th and 18th centuries
State of conservationGood conditions.
Degree of legal protectionDesignated UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Mailing addressIera Odos, Chaidari 124 61, Greece
Coordinates GPS38° 00′ 47″ N, 23° 38′ 09″ O
Property, dependencyEphorate of Antiquities of West Attika
Possibility of visits by the general public or only specialists
General public visits
Conservation needs
Visiting hours and conditions
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 08:30 - 15:30. Monday, Tuesday closed.
Ticket amount
Free admission
Research work in progress
Archaeological excavations (1892, 1936-1939) and restoration and enhancement of the complex (1955-1957) and after an earthquake in 1999
AccessibilityVery good
Signaling if it is registered on the route
Not registered yet.
-Helen D. Kyriacopoulou,, et al., The Daphni Monastery: History, Architecture, Mosaics. Athens 1956
- Robin Cormack,. Byzantine Art. Oxford 2002.
-Christopher Entwistle and Liz James, New Light on Old Glass: Recent Research on Byzantine Mosaics and Glass. London 2013
Information websitesodysseus.culture.gr
LocationChaidari, Attika, Greece