Byzantine Monuments in Athens and Pireaus

Aghii Apostoli

The church of the Holy Apostles is one of the oldest Christian churches (early 11th century A.D.) in the area of the ancient Greek Agora. It stands a little south of the Stoa of Attalus. A minute church, it has four apses and a narthex with the lower part of the walls built of massive blocks and the upper section in stone masonry, lined with bricks.

Sotira Likodimou (Russian Church)

Built on the ruins of Roman Baths in the 11th century A.D., it formed an important monastic group, until its destruction from the Turks. Later the church was restored and bought from the Russian colony in Athens. It is still in use today. It stands on Filellinon Str. and belongs to the octagonal style with dome.


This church stands in the middle of the street about half way up Ermou Street and dates back to the end of the 11th century A.D.. Originally, it had been built in the cruciform style with dome supported on four pillars. Later, the small porch was added on the southern side and also the chapel on the northern side and the external narthex with the watershed roof on the western side.

Panagia Gorgoepikoos or Aghios Eleftherios

This is the most ornamental of the small Byzantine churches in Athens. Built in the 12th century A.D. in what is now Cathedral Square (Platia Mitropoleos) in Athens, it is made of marble sections, blocks and reliefs which originally belonged to various ancient buildings. Over the doorway, on the western side, there is a marble frieze with a symbolic representation of formal festivals in Attica.

Aghii Theodori

This is also one of the more attractive Byzantine churches in Athens. It stands in Klathmonos Square, at the lower end of Dragatsaniou Street and, according to an inscription, was built in the middle of the 11th century A.D. but the belfry was a later addition.

Kessariani Monastery

Only 7 km out of Athens, Kessariani is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Attica. It was built in the 11th century A.D. close to the ruins of a temple of Aphrodite. Apart from the cruciform church with dome, set upon four pillars, the monastery has a refectory, a mill and bakery as well as a bath house. Later additions were the narthex, the chapel of Saint Anthony and the belfry. The narthex contains paintings by the Peloponnesian painter Ioannis Ypatios while the rest of the church is adorned with murals by painters of the Cretan School of Art.

The Monastery of Dafni

This is the most important surviving Byzantine monument within a short distance of Athens. It stands 10 km out of town at the junction of Iera Odos and Leoforos Athinon (also known as Leoforos Kavalas). The monastery, within its fortified enclosure, was built in the 6th century A.D. on a site formerly occupied by a temple dedicated to the Dafnios Apollo whence it got its present name Dafni. The church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. was built in the 11th century A.D. in the octagonal cruciform style with narthex. Later, an outer narthex was added with a second story which housed the library or the abbot's living quarters. Both externally and internally, the church has been built with exceptional craftsmanship. Its mosaics, which are among the best to be seen anywhere in Greece, are inspired by the classicist ideal. In the narthex and in the main church next to representations of the Passion, is a representation of the life of the Virgin Mary. One of the finest of all the mosaics at Dafni is the Crucifixion. The dome is dominated by an austere countenance of Christ the Almighty against a gold background. The drum of the dome shows various saints and prophets. The apse shows the Virgin Mary surrounded by Archangels.