TX: signed with pastel at lower left of margin in Greek <N.Zographos>, inscribed with pastel at lower left of margin <DAPHNI>, stamped at rear center sideways in English <Copyright reserved / By. N. Zographos / Date [printed in Greek] 4. FEB. 1931>, further left <PHOTO-STUDIO / N. ZOGRAPHOS / 10, RUE HERMÈS ATHENÈS>, inscribed with graphite below in Greek <Daphni>
CM: Daphni or Daphnion is a monastery 11 kilometers north-west of downtown Athens in Chaidari, south of Athinon Avenue situated near the forest of the same name, on the Sacred Way that led to Eleusis. It owes its name to the laurels sacred to Apollo, which once flourished in the neighborhood. The Daphni Monastery 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 Apollonion 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 11 th century Byzantine art, is built in the cross-in-octagon style surmounted by a broad and high dome. The church is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary and houses the best preserved complex of mosaics from the early Comnenan period (ca. 1100), notably the unforgettable Pantocrator. 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. The French monks had the exonarthex reconstructed, including the surviving Ionic column, built a wall around the monastery and effected numerous other changes until the Turks expelled them and restored the monastery to the Orthodox congregation in 1458. Gradually, the impoverished cloister fell into disrepair. The monastery was disbanded by Ottoman authorities in 1821 but restoration work did not commence until 1888. The patrimony was declared a World Heritage Site in 1990. Heavily damaged by the 1999 earthquake, Daphni Monastery is currently closed to the public due to restoration works. The present photograph records a mother holding her child descending the stairs of the entrance to the Church of the Dormition, flanked by ancient pieces of marble - capitals and a colonette.