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- Daphni Monastery: Overall view, dome of catholikon visible ›
Daphni Monastery: Overall view, dome of catholikon visible
The Daphnion was founded about the turn of the 6th century, Christianizing the site of the Sanctuary of Apollo Daphnaios that had been desecrated by the Goths in 395, and reusing the Ionic columns of the ancient temple of Apollo in its portico; only one remains, the others having been removed to London by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin. The principal church (catholikon), a fine monument of the 11th-century Byzantine art, is a cross-in-square church of the octagonal type surmounted by a broad and high dome. The church houses the best preserved complex of mosaics from the early Comnenan period (ca. 1100). After the church was sacked by the Crusaders in 1205, Otho de la Roche, Duke of Athens, gave it to the Cistercian Abbey of Bellevaux.