Athens Churches

Athens is famed for its numeral important orthodox churches, cathedrals, huge monasteries and more than one mosque. Visitors will discover charming churches, which date back from the Byzantine era, although almost nothing survives from the early centuries of that Christian empire. But vandals and thieves have forced many churches to lock their doors. So you may not be able to go inside unless caretaker is present. If you do go inside, dress suitable: shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not appropriate. You can leave a donation in one of the collection boxes.

Agios Eleftherios Church

Called as "Our Lady who swiftly hears" and known as the Mikri Mitropoli or the Panagia Gorgoepikoos. For the little church, sizeable enough when Athens was only a village is now dwarfed by the neighbouring Mitrópoli. The church is located next to the modern Athens Cathedral. It was built at the end of the 12th century on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to goddess Eileithyia. It was initially called “Little Metropolis” and belonged to Episcopal Athens mansion.

The domed cruciform church was built entirely from pentelic marble, which has now weathered to a rich corn-coloured hue. Decorated with friezes and bas-reliefs taken from earlier buildings, the exterior of the Panagia Gorgoepí­koös mixes Classical and Byzantine styles. The frieze over the main entrance, depicting the months of the year, dates from the 4th century BC. A Greek cross was added to the centre in the 12th century when the church was built.

In the 17th century it was referred to as both "Gorgoepikoos" and "Catholicon". In 1841 it housed the public library of Athens and in 1863 it was dedicated to Aghios Eleutherios. The walls of the church are entirely constructed of large, ancient Greek, Roman, early Byzantine marble blocks and relief plaques, without bricks. The ninety reliefs are mostly used on the upper section of the walls, resulting in a unique decoration for a Christian church.

Agios Eleftherios Church - Athens
Mosaic in Agios Eleftherios Church

Agios Nikólaos Ragavás Church

Located in Plaka near to the Cathedral of Athens, it was built in the 11th century, rebuilt in the 18th century and restored in 1970s. The church was the first in Athens to have a bell after the Independence War and the first to ring out after the city's liberation from Germans on October 12, 1944. Today it is one of the favourite parish churches, frequently used for colourful Greek weddings.

Daphni Monastery

A spot located in the Athens suburbs since the 6th century. The rest of monastic structures not survived of time test and were destroyed by earthquakes and invaders. The awe inspiring mosaics are the real reason why made it out to this monastery. Although the building itself is architecturally interesting and its mosaics are the most important artworks that remain from Byzantine times that can be seen anywhere. Each mosaic panel tells an episode in Jesus and Virgin Mary life.

Mosaic in Daphni Monastery - Athens
Mosaic "The Baptism of Christ" - Daphni Monastery in Athens

Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris Church

A small chapel built in an extremely handsome location on Filopappous Hill and being dedicated too, Saint Dimitri the Bombardier. Built of stone but with a wood ceiling, the iconic chapel makes an excellent location for weddings or similar occasions. Visitors may not leave to visit this little beauty.

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