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7 CHURCH OF AGIOS ZACHARIAS, ELEUSIS 86 Nikolaidou str., Eleusis Access From Athens: Buses 865, A 16, B16 (terminus Koumoundourou square) From Egaleo metro station (line 3): Bus X63 From Piraeus: Buses 845, 871

The church of Agios Zacharias is a declared historical monument of the PostByzantine period. It lies within the archaeological site of the ruins of an Early Christian basilica, protected by the provisions of Ν. 3028/2002. The church is built over the eastern part of the central aisle of the Early Christian (5th c.) basilica of the same name. Its masonry consisted of unworked stones (rubble) and plaster, and of reused carved stone from older churches. The main body of the basilica was divided into three aisles by colonnades consisting of five columns (only two from the left colonnade are preserved). The side aisles were abnormally wide (4.20 m versus 5.70 m for the central aisle). The stylobates were built, and have in places preserved large marble slabs of ancient material. The column bases – also large – and probably the shafts of the columns were taken from ancient monuments in Eleusis. The columns in all probability carried straight marble architraves rather than arches, as we understand from the fact they were set close together as well as from the dimensions of the piers (in which the colonnades conclude), which are narrower than the stylobates, and finally, from the large marble beams found during excavation. There is no evidence concerning the arrangement of the Bema, and its traces (if any still exist) are covered by the church of Agios Zacharias. The two narthexes communicated (with the outside) only through side doors, which, however, appear to have been set higher than the preserved height(s) of the foundations. The exonarthex was separated by walls into three apartments; that on the north had two brick tombs. However, these walls probably belong to a later phase, as their inferior masonry shows. The annex west of the exonarthex must also be a later construction. North of the narthex there was an attached baptistery which recalls corresponding baptisteries of Asia Minor, i.e. a square surrounded by a corridor, with a built cruciform baptismal font in its center, covered by a marble revetment. Two smaller oblong apartments, a changing room and a photisterion, were attached at the east in the baptistery courtyard. In the latter, a marble seat of ancient form, resting on lion’s feet, is preserved in situ. Roman sculptures are visible in the church grounds. As regards the basilica’s dating, on the basis of the use of a straight architrave and the decoration of a massive preserved closure slab with a cross inside a circle and the letters A-Ω on either side, it probably is to be dated to the 5th c. AD. Text: St. Vandorou


Navigating the Roots of Art and Culture - Part 3  
Navigating the Roots of Art and Culture - Part 3