Monastery of Daphni

Daphni means "laurel tree," a species that was sacred to the god Apollo. The myth says that Eros made Apollo fall in love with a nymph after he mocked the God of Love's archery skills; when he finally caught her, she turned into a laurel. Apollo's sanctuary once occupied this site on the Sacred Way between Athens and Eleusis. The original temple was destroyed in AD 395 after the anti-pagan edicts of the Emperor Theodosius. The Orthodox monastery that stands here now was probably first established in the 6th century, incorporating materials of Apollo's sanctuary in the church and walls, though what survives now is mostly from the 11th century. Reoccupied by Orthodox monks some five centuries later, the Daphni complex has since been host to a barracks and a mental institution. The monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is once again open to the public even though restoration work is ongoing. To reach it, take the metro (Line 3) to Agia Marina, where you can catch either the 866 or 876 bus to the monastery.


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