The Monastery of Kaisariani in Athens: One of the oldest monasteries in Attica is the Holy Monastery of Kaisariani located on the slopes of a hill, on the northern side of Mount Hymettus, at an altitude of 350 meters. The medieval church was founded during the Byzantine times, in the late 11th century and it was dedicated to the Presentation of the virgin in the Temple. According to several historical sources, the monastery was built on the remains of a Roman sanctuary.
The Monastery of Kaisariani is among the finest examples of cross-in-square architectural form. The church has four columns with a dome and its walls are built with brick ornaments. The interior of the church is decorated with wall paintings that date back to the16th and 15th century and constitute an example of Cretan painting style. The chapel located at the northern side of the church is dedicated to Agios Antonios and was built during the Turkish domination, while the bell tower was constructed much later in the 19th century. At the eastern side of the yard is located an archaic fountain which according to the tradition it had therapeutic treatments in female fertility.
The monastery flourished during the 12th and 13th centuries and it was established as a cultural and spiritual centre. The monastery had a rich library with an important collection of books used by many philosophers of that time which was destroyed in wars and invasions. Most importantly, several excavations conducted in 1958 revealed the ruins of a 6th century basilica. The monastery is surrounded by a rich forest with trees, bushes and rare plants that reflect the calm and peaceful atmosphere and boast a unique view. This forest has a large network of hiking trails and is a popular picnic excursion in Athens. Today, the monastery doesn't work but it is one of the landmarks of Christianity.
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