Fodor's Expert Review Monastery of Daphni
Sacked by Crusaders, inhabited by Cistercian monks, and desecrated by Turks, this UNESCO World Heritage site remains one of the most splendid Byzantine monuments in Greece. Dating from the 11th century, the golden age of Byzantine art, the church contains a series of miraculously preserved mosaics without parallel in the legacy of Byzantium: powerful portraits of figures from the Old and New Testaments, images of Christ and the Virgin Mary in the Presentation of the Virgin, and, in the golden dome, a stern Pantokrator ("ruler of all") surrounded by 16 Old Testament prophets who predicted his coming. The mosaics, made of chips of four different types of marble, are set against gold. An ongoing long-term restoration project makes it hard to see some of the mosaics, but this doesn't take away much of the awe inspired by the craftmanship of the Byzantine masters.