Besides Monastiraki and Orthodox churches around Plaka and Athens, there are many historical monasteries, that present a unique interest. Monasteries played a special role during Ottoman occupation, since they were functioning as hotspots for education and military resistance. So, feeling Orthodox in Athens keeps being a must experience!
The famous square was a monastery of Pantanassa, now a metro station as well. Mentioned here just for reference reasons, in order to realise the history evolution and adoption to modern changes. Today Pandrosou street and Plaka entrance begins from there.
Moni Petraki (and Asomaton as its full name is), is located at Kolonaki area, near Evagelismos metro. The monastery is mentioned first since it is there for around thousand years, as the rest of Plaka churches, buildings of the 11th century.
Its history starts at 1673, when monk Parthenios Petrakis buys and restores the byzantine building. Six members of his family continue his effort, to preserve Orthodox estates around occupied by Ottomans Athens. So, monasteries from Parnitha mountain, more than 170 private properties were being bought by the monastery between 1672-1819, and not donated. So Petraki funds the Dekas school (from 1806 to 1821) that was operating in Athens since 1750. Actually Dionysios Petrakis was a member of Filomousou Company, an education institute that operated before Greek Independence War, that carries the same name with the square at Kydathineon.
The estates that were donated to the modern Greek state are Rizarios school, Academy of Athens in 1859, NTUA at 1867, Evagelismos hospital at 1880, British School of Athens at 1884, for Gennadios Library at 1922, and many more.
The monastery is located 11 kilometres from the center of Athens, located on the sacred way to Elefsina. Before becoming an Orthodox temple, it was probably a temple dedicated to Apollo, destroyed during 395 AD raid. It is an UNESCO heritage site since 1990. The most well preserved Byzantine- medieval monument in Athens. After its 1204 sack from Catholics, it was given to Cistercians monks, since 1458, that was given back to Orthodox.
Lord Elgin had also stolen some of the remains of the ancient temple, located today at the British museum.
Kaisariani monastery was supporting Athens for centuries, but was abandoned recently. Today it is visitable as an archeological space- museum and is easily accessible by car.
The two monasteries are located at Penteli mountain and should not be confused.
The Monastery of Kleiston is at a magnificent spot at Parnitha mountain.