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Daphni Monastery

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Monastery
Location type: Monastery
Number of texts: 6
5 stars
Made by Dromos
Made by Dromos

The Daphne Monastery is built on a place which has been sacred since ancient times. Here was a Temple of Apollo. The name Daphne (meaning laurel) refers to Apollo. The temple was destroyed around 395 because it was outlawed by the Christian emperor. You can still see a surviving column of the temple near the entrance of the monastery.

Also here, Lord Elgin, who took quite some relicts of the Acropolois, took some relicts of the Temple of Apollo to England.

Source: John L. Tomkinson, 2002, AThens, The Suburbs. Greece Beyond the Guidebooks, Anagnosis, Athens.

Linked themes: History

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Made by Dromos
Made by Dromos

The Daphni Monastery is now a museum and World Heritage Site, famous for its beautiful mosaics, although more than 3/4 of the mosaics have been lost.

One of the reasons why this mosaic is so important is that it represents a milestone in the evolution of mosaics: this mosaic shows a clear realism. You can see this in the represented face of Christ in the dome.

There is a story telling that the garrison leader of the occupying Turks once made a big fire in the church to melt the gold in the mosaics.

Linked characteristics: Peculiar
Linked themes: World heritage

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Made by Dromos

During the Greek battle for independence, in the 1st half of the 19th century, the monastery became a headquarter of the Greek freedom fighters.

An Albanian monk, named Paisions, betrayed the Greek freedom fighters to the Turks. He told them the secret entry to the monastery. An underground cistern connects to a well outside the walls and brings you inside the monastery, near the large cypress in the middle of the atrium.

Linked themes: History, War

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Made by Dromos

There is a story that is was here at Daphni that the murder took place on Dona Chiara by her own nephew, Franco Acciajoili. He strangled her with his bare hands and cut of her head with his sword while she was praying over the tombs of the dukes at Daphni.

This happened a bit after the fall of Constaninople in 1453.

The motive was that Franco would normally inherit the dukedom of his widowed aunt, but she recently hooked up a Venetian ruler who poisoned his own wife to be and rule with her over Attica.

The bloody murder is probably not true because they found indications that Franco threw his aunt in his dungeons at Megara where she died.

Linked themes: Crime and justice

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Made by Dromos

The crusaders past here at the monastery of Daphni in 1205 and kicked out the Orthodox monks. Two years later, the monastery was taken over by the Cistercians. They wanted an austere abbey without decorations, so probably at that time, they covered up the mosaics with plaster, protecting them very will without their knowledge or intention.

Also graves of the Crusader rulers of Athens were found here. This is a similar tradition and practice as found in Citeaux, south of Dijon in France, where the Frnkish rulers were buried in the abbey of the Cistercians.

Source: John L. Tomkinson, 2002, AThens, The Suburbs. Greece Beyond the Guidebooks, Anagnosis, Athens.

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Made by Dromos

Near the monatery of Daphni, stuck on the rocky slopes of the mountain, you can still see the remains of the sanctuary of Aphrodite.

Folk legends say that this place was connected with the other famous place Aphrodite lived, namely in Acrocorinth. According to the legend,  the tow places were connected by means of an underground tunnel under the sea.

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