Temple Gallery Travel


byzantine greece

In association with ETR, Lausanne, Switzerland
3rd March - 12th March 2018
Single person supplement - £365

for further information and to reserve a place please contact info@templegallery.com

ETR’s Programme Leader meets us on arrival and accompanies us throughout the trip. He arranges museum entries, local travel (by private coach), hotel check-in and generally smoothes the path. Dinner is pre-arranged on each evening and breakfast of course is included in the hotel stay. Lunch is up to us. Where practical I will give a short introductory talk on the historical context and iconographical significance of the art and architecture we will be seeing.

day one


london - athens

Aegean Airlines A3601 from London Heathrow at 12.15 arriving Athens at 17.50. Hotel and dinner in a traditional restaurant.

day two

benaki museum

The Benaki Museum, founded in 1930 and reopened after a $20 million renovation and restoration in 2000, is one of the world’s most attractive and important private museums celebrating Greek culture and includes images attributed to El Greco and many important icons. There is also major collection of Islamic art.

Benaki Museum. Hospitality of Abraham, 14th century.

Museum of Byzantine and Christian Art

The Museum of Byzantine and Christian Art has many early icons of exceptional importance. The figure of Orpheus from a 4th century church points to the mystical Orphic cult at the heart of early Christianity.

Byzantine Museum, Archangel Michael, 14th century.

Orpheus from a 4th century church

National Archaeological Museum

The museum houses many objects and masterpieces of ancient art, among them the great bronze Poseidon from the Classical Period, one of the world’s greatest works of art.

Overnight in Athens.

Dinner at a local restaurant.

The National Archaeological Museum, Poseidon or Zeus, 5th century BC.

day three

Kanellopoulos Museum

The Kanellopoulos Museum was the private collection of Paul and Alexandra Kanellopoulos donated to the Greek state in 1976. It has Post-Byzantine and Cretan icons, Fayum portraits and ancient Greek artefacts.

Christ with the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Jacob, Cretan School, 16th century.

M. Damaskinos (signed), Martyrdom of St Paraskevi, 16th century.

the acropolis

Perhaps it is true that the Acropolis epitomises the birth place of Europe and Western Civilisation. The visit includes the Acropolis Museum.

Overnight in Athens.
Dinner at a local restaurant.

The Acropolis. 5th century BC.

day four


From Athens we take a private coach to Dafni.

Founded in around 500, the present-day monastery dates from the 11th century. The mosaics, of exceptional beauty, are of great historical importance affording a glimpse into the style of a period of which very little has survived.

Dafni. 11th century mosaic of Christ in the dome and view of the monastery church.

Hosias Loukas

Only three monuments - Dafni, Hosias Loukas and Nea Moni on the island of Chios - of the Middle-Byzantine period are still in existence. All are as remarkable for their great beauty and art as they are important for our understanding of Byzantine art and theology.

Hosias Loukas Monastery, mosaics of the early 10th century.

From Dafni it’s about a two and a half hour drive (180 km) by coach to Delphi where we stay overnight and have dinner in a local taverna.

day five


View of the Tholos at Delphi amid the ruins of the Temple of Athena . 4th century BC.

Delphi is partly obscured for us today through a screen of myth, tradition, archaeology, magic and history. One untangles all this as best one can through impressions received both consciously and subconsciously; but one thing is sure: the bronze figure of the Charioteer embodies all the known - and unknown – mysteries and wonders of Classical Greece.

The Charioteer of Delphi, 6th century BC.

Of the four surviving great bronzes of the Classical Period – the two Riace warriors, the Poseidon in Athens and the Charioteer at Delphi – the latter is the most extraordinary and thought by many to be the greatest work of art in the world.

We then leave Delphi for Meteora (5 hours by coach). Lunch will be en route. Overnight stay nearby and dinner.

day six


The Meteora is one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Byzantine Orthodox monasticism and second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six surviving monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora has further useful information.

Overnight stay and dinner in Meteora.

day seven


From Meteora we travel two and a half hours to Kastoria, founded in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian. The town is known for its many Byzantine churches and for its important museum.

Kastoria Byzantine Museum. St Athanasios, 14th century.

Prophet Elijah in the Wilderness, 12th century.

Overnight stay and dinner in Kastoria.

day eight


We leave Kastoria and drive for about two and a half hours to Thessaloniki.

From the first years of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki was considered the second city in the Empire after Constantinople. After the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders and during the ‘Latin Kingdom’ until 1276, Thessaloniki was the foremost Byzantine city. In the later middle ages it came under Venetian, Ottoman and Byzantine influences though the Orthodox Christian population and the Church retained most of their possessions, and the city retained its institutions. It was a great trading centre with an especially interesting Jewish community.

The city was one of the first great centres of early Christianity from the time when, in the fourth century, its patron became Saint Demetrios.

In the afternoon we visit the Church of Saint Demetrios with its pre-Iconoclast period mosaics followed by a visit to the White Tower.

Overnight stay in Thessaloniki and dinner.

Christ and St Athanasios, 14th century icons in the Thessaloniki Museum of Byzantine Culture.

The White Tower, 15th century Thessaloniki.

St. Demetrios mosaic, circa 600. Church of St Demetrios

4th century mosaic, Rotonda Church, Thessaloniki

day nine


Museum of Byzantine Culture.

Lunch in the Modiano Market.

Hagia Sophia Cathedral (8th century with some surviving mosaics).

Rotunda Church. This remarkable Roman building was converted into a church in 303 AD predating the ‘Peace of the Church’ when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. This extraordinary building, with its charged atmosphere of stillness and spirituality, is a key to our understanding of early Christianity.

Church of the Panagia Achiropoietos; 5th century with 13th century mosaics.

Rotunda, converted into a Christian Church in 303 AD.

Overnight stay in Thessaloniki and dinner.

day ten



Morning in Thessaloniki.

5th century Church of David the Tree-dweller

Depart from airport on Aegean Airlines flight A3 7119 at 17.00 arrive Athens 17.55. Then depart Athens on A3 608 at 19.10 to arrive London Heathrow at 21.15.