Church of Soteira Lykodemou
Inscriptions on the walls of the church, the earliest of which date to 1031, indicate that it was built in the first half of the eleventh century. The original name of the church was the Soteira (Saviour) Lykodemou, and it served as the chapel of a large convent. After the War of Independence it was abandoned and left in ruins, but then in 1847 Tsar Nicholas I expressed an interest in acquiring the church to serve the Russian community in Athens. The Greek government sold the church to the tsar on the condition that it be rebuilt according to the original plan. The reconstruction was carried out in the years 1850-55, but the architect did not rebuild it entirely to the original design, and consequently it has a somewhat different appearance from the other Byzantine churches of that period in Athens. The church is cruciform in plan, with a dome carried on a circular drum supported internally by eight piers, two spur walls and the walls framing the extremely high apse. The bell-tower, which is separate from the church, is an entirely modem construction, dating from the restoration of 1850-55.
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Strolling Through Athens: Fourteen Unforgettable Walks through Europe's Oldest City by John Freely