Religious sites in Greece

Tzistarakis Mosque

Tzistarakis Mosque was built in 1759, by the Ottoman governor of Athens, Mustapha Agha Tzistarakis. According to tradition, Tzistarakis used one of the pillars of the Temple of Olympian Zeus to make lime for the building, although it is more likely that he used one of the columns of the nearby Hadrian"s Library. This act led to his dismissal as the Turks considered it a sacrilege which would cause vengeful spir ...
Founded: 1759 | Location: Athens, Greece

Fethiye Mosque

The Fethiye Mosque is located on the northern side of the ancient Roman Agora in Athens and was built on the ruins of a Christian basilica from the middle Byzantine period (8th/9th centuries). The Christian church was converted into a mosque in 1456/58, soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Duchy of Athens, to coincide with the visit to the city by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1458. Only a fragment of the ...
Founded: 1668-1670 | Location: Athens, Greece

Saint Spyridon Church

Saint Spyridon Church is a Greek Orthodox church built in the 1580s. It houses the relics of Saint Spyridon and it is located in the old town of Corfu. It is a single-nave basilica and its bell tower is the highest in the Ionian Islands.  In the 1580s, after the demolition of the private church, the Saint Spyridon remains were moved to their present location in a new church which was built within the city fortifications ...
Founded: 1580s | Location: Corfu, Greece

Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation construction began on Christmas Day, 1842 with the laying of the cornerstone by King Otto and Queen Amalia. Workers used marble from 72 demolished churches to build the Cathedral"s immense walls. Three architects and 20 years later, it was complete. On May 21, 1862, the completed Cathedral was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God by the King and Queen ...
Founded: 1842 | Location: Athens, Greece

Cathedral of St. James and St. Christopher

The old cathedral was located in the Old Fortress of Corfu and was dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul. This temple was one of the oldest monuments of the old fortress and was originally an Orthodox Cathedral which from the 13th to the 17th century was the cathedral of the city"s Catholics. Originally the church was a basilica and beside it was a chapel dedicated to Saint Arsenius, first bishop of Corfu (876-952 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Corfu, Greece

Church of Saint Panteleimon

The Church of Saint Panteleimon is a late Byzantine church in Thessaloniki and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church lies in the eastern part of the old city, near the Tomb of Galerius, at the junction of Iasonidou and Arrianou streets. Its current dedication to Saint Panteleimon was given to the church after the end of Ottoman rule in 1912, and its original dedication is therefore disputed. In Ottoman times, it was c ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988. The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced ...
Founded: 629-634 AD | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Monastery of Great Meteoron

The Monastery of Great Meteoron is the largest of the monasteries located at Meteora, though in 2015 there were only 3 monks in residence. The Great Meteoro Monastery was founded in the mid-14th century by Saint Athanasios the Meteorite who was the first founder of the monastery and the systematic organizer. For this reason, the foundation of this monastery is considered to be a turning point, or even better, the begi ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Kalabaka, Greece

Church of the Saviour

The Church of the Savior is one of the 15 Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki that were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988. Archaeological investigation and restoration work following the 1978 earthquakes, in which the church was badly damaged, have brought to light new evidence that has led to a radical review of our knowledge of the structure. The original position of the holy altar h ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Saint Titus Church

Saint Titus church is one of the most important monuments in Heraklion. In 961, Nicephorus Phocas drove the Arabs from Crete, bringing the island back under the wing of the powerful Byzantine Empire. This is when the first Orthodox church of St Titus must have been built, to rekindle the Christian faith and tradition in Crete, which had declined due to the corsair conquest of the island. Saint Titus was a disciple of th ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Heraklion, Greece

Church of Panagia Chalkeon

According to the founder's inscription above the west entrance, the The Church of Panagia Chalkeon was built in 1028 by the protospatharios Christopher, katepano of Longobardia, and his wife, son, and two daughters. The ground plan is that of a classic 'cross-in-square-form' typical of Macedonian-period architecture, with four columns and three domes, one central and two over the narthex. The entire building is built ...
Founded: 1028 | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki is one of the oldest churches in the city still standing today. It is one of several monuments in Thessaloniki included as a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list. Since the 3rd century, there was a church in the location of the current Hagia Sophia. In the 8th century, the present structure was erected, based on the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey). In 1205, ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Paleokastritsa Monastery

The monastery of the Holy Theotokos, also known as Paleokastritsa Monastery, is one of the oldest in Corfu, dating to 1225. The reasons for visiting this monastery are two-fold. Set on the top of the cape, the views from the monastery are stunningly dramatic and indescribably beautiful. Perhaps the most visited of the island’s religious sites, due to its amazing position, it is also steeped in history. It is built on t ...
Founded: 1225 | Location: Corfu, Greece

Varlaam Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Varlaam is the second biggest monastery in Meteora. It is located opposite of the Great Meteoron Monastery and it was founded in the mid-14th century by the exercitant Hosios Varlaam. The elegant monastery Katholikon (main church) was built in the honour of Agioi Pantes in 1541-42, by two brothers from Ioannina, the priest-monks Hosioi Theophanes and Nectarios the Apsarades. The main church was d ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kalabaka, Greece

St. Paul's Anglican Church

Built in a neo-gothic style, St. Paul's Anglican Church is a listed building and a landmark in the cityscape of contemporary Athens. Consecrated on Palm Sunday of 1843 on what was then the city's outskirts, it is now part of the Athenian historical centre, situated between Syntagma Square and the Areopagus at the foot of the Acropolis where St. Paul first addressed the Athenians. Its austere lines hide a musical jewel, a ...
Founded: 1843 | Location: Athens, Greece

Vlacherna Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Blachernae (Vlacherna) was built in the 17th century. In 1799, it belonged to the Halikiopoulos-Mantzaros family and for years functioned as a nunnery until 1980. The building is distinguished by its unusual shaped, tiled roof and intense white walls that sharply contrast with the lush landscape and the brilliant blue of the sea. After crossing the pedestrian bridge you will find yourself in the co ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Corfu, Greece

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church (Naós Agíou Nikoláou) is a late Byzantine church built to the archaeological site of Mystras in the 17th century, during the Ottoman Era. Some parts of frescoes have survived. Today the church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mystras.
Founded: 17th century | Location: Mystras, Greece

Roussanou Monastery

The Monastery of Roussanou was founded in the middle of the 16th century. Compared to other rocks where monasteries were built, the one of Roussanou has a lower elevation, which makes it more accessible. The monastery was initially founded by monks and it suffered severe damage during World War II. It became a convent in 1988. The beautiful wall-paintings of the Catholicon were executed in 1560, when the priest-monk Ars ...
Founded: c. 1550 | Location: Kalabaka, Greece

Arkadi Monastery

Arkadi Monatery is perhaps the best known monastery on Crete due to the Holocaust of 1866. However, its location and impressive architecture make it all the more special. The current catholicon (church) dates back to the 16th century and is marked by the influence of the Renaissance. This influence is visible in the architecture, which mixes both Roman and baroque elements. As early as the 16th century, the mon ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Arkadi, Greece

Saint Minas Cathedral

The Agios Minas Cathedral is a Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Heraklion, serving as the seat of the Archbishop of Crete. It was built over the time period of 1862-1895. The construction was interrupted during the Cretan Revolution of 1866–1869. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Greece, with a capacity of 8,000 people.
Founded: 1862-1895 | Location: Heraklion, Greece

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).