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Σάββατο, 19 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Church Monastery in Arkadia

Monastery of the Philosopher (Philosophou), Dimitsana
Founded in 963 AD by Ioannis Lambardopoulos – philosopher at the court of Emperor Nicephorus Phocas – the monastery was meant to Christianize and Hellenize the Slavic settlers in the region. It moved down from the rocks by the Lousios gorge in the 17th century. Note its church of the Dormition, icons and wall paintings.

Moni Philosophou

There are two monasteries of Philosophos, one old, the other new. In the photo above and in ruin is the old monastery of Philosophos. According to the tradition, the Old Monastery was founded by Iohannes Lambardes the 'Philosopher' from Dimitsana in 960 circa. He served the emperor Nikiforos Fokas. Because of its inaccessibility, the monastery was used as 'secret school' to educate the Greeks during the Ottoman period. The wall paintings are in dire condition. It is a shame that they are bearly protected fron decay.

Old Philosophos Monastery
Moni Philosophou Church
Moni Philosophou
Moni Philosophou
Moni Philosophou

Monastery of St. John the Forerunner

Monastery of St. John the Forerunner
Monastery of St. John the Forerunner
Monastery of St. John the Forerunner
Monastery of St. John the Forerunner
Monastery of St. John the Forerunner
Monastery of St. John the Forerunner

Agia Eleoussa Monastery, Vlacherna

Agia Eleoussa means the 'begging saint'. This old monastery inside a big cave near the Bezinikou summit overlooking Vlacherna, has only its church left intact and no monks to show for. It still affords stunning views and can be reached from the village.
Now situated between Levidi and Vytina in Mantineia, 940 metres above sea level, the village of Bezeniko (modern Vlacherna) has changed location several times in the past. According to tradition, the village was originally built below the Eleousa monastery, near the site of Spilia (or Metochi), where the remains of houses and a square building dubbed Agiorgis (Saint George) by the locals are still visible. Traces of settlements are also preserved at the sites of Vardaioi and Livadi, where local tradition places the farmstead of a Turkish notable and several events of the Greek War of Independence. An old Slavic toponym, Bezeniko was later replaced by Vlacherna.
The majestic scenery created by the slopes of Mount Mainalo on the west and the plain of Orchomenos on the east is the setting for two monasteries, Panagia Eleousa and Vlacherna. The Panagia Eleousa monastery is located south of the village, below the Bezeniko Castle. The Vlacherna monastery is located northeast of the village, atop Mount Kastania (possibly ancient Mount Knakalos).
Tucked away in a fold of Mount Mainalo, surrounded by pine trees and almost invisible, the rock monastery of Panagia Eleousa was a refuge in difficult times, particularly during the Greek War of Independence and Ibrahim Pasha’a appearance in the Peloponnese (1826). A footpath, which began at the village and followed the Arapissa gorge, led after a 45-minute walk to the monastery’s first steps. Today, a dirt road has replaced the footpath making it possible to reach the monastery by car.
On the way up to the monastery, near the modern monument of local hero Alexis Nikolaou or Levidiotis, the derelict church of Panagia Kataphygiotissa stands inside an impressive cave. This single-nave church follows the cave’s contours. Its walls are partially preserved, and traces of wall paintings are visible in situ. Little is known of its foundation. With the help of the locals, the parish priest tends to the small church and occasionally holds services. http://www.immk.gr/index.

Agios Nikolaos Monastery, Kaltezes

On the boundary of Lakonia in an idyllic setting among fir and cypress trees, this monastery from 1720 lies above Kaltezes at 680 meters. It was re-established inconspicuously during Ottoman years after the forest had almost reclaimed it.LOCATION
Agios Nikolaos Kaltezon is located in southern Arcadia, thirty kilometres from Tripoli, eleven kilometres from Kato Asea, and 2.5 kilometres from the village of Kaltezes, which means ‘wells’ in Slavic. The village lies 680 metres above sea level, near the ruins of an ancient city, the so-called Paliochora, which include ancient fortifications and a medieval settlement around the fortress of Saint George (Fortress of Paliochora), with houses, sanctuaries, and other installations. East of the village, the toponym Tis Elenis to Pigadi (Eleni’s Well) suggests that the Eleneia beauty contest took place there in antiquity.
The monastery was built on a small plateau of strategic military importance. Founded in the late eighteenth century, it has been operating as a nunnery under the Metropolis of Mantineia and Kynouria since 1920 and still hosts four nuns. http://www.immk.gr/index.

Agios Nikolaos, Karitena

Greece, Peloponnes, Arkadien, Karitena, church Agios Nikolaos, Europe, mainland, sight, 17 Jh
Don't miss the 11th-century church of Ayios Nikolaos in quiet Karitena with its vivid and generally well-preserved frescoes, even despite the Ottomans trying to erase the faces on these frescoes. If it's locked ask the locals to find the caretaker.

Church of the Apostoles, Leontari

Leontari Arkadias
Λεοντάρι εκκλησία/ Leontari church
The Byzantine church of the Apostoles, 14th century, with wall-paintings (for many years covered by a coat of whitewash), has been described as one of the finest in Greece.

Convent of Transfiguration (Loukous)
A well-preserved 11th century church from the Byzantine era at this convent hosts a miraculous icon of the Saviour.
The Loukou monastery is one of most significant monastic centres in Arkadia, the most important one in Kynouria. It is also the best-known and most accessible monastery for visitors arriving from the Argolid, only four kilometres inland from Astros.

The region of Loukou has many interesting sites. According to Konstantinos Romaios, Pausanias’s “Eva, the greatest of Thyrean villages” was located here. So was the sanctuary of Polemokrates, a famous healing centre, which received all who sought help. Herodes Atticus, a luminary of the Roman period, who knew both great glory and happiness, but also the deepest of human sorrows, spent much of his life here in his luxurious villa and estate.

Surrounded by the Zavitsa, Paliopanagia, and Elliniko mountain ranges, the Loukou monastery is located near two historical sites: the town of Astros and the village of Kato Doliana. The monastery dominates the entrance to the plain of the river Tanos, which flows into the Gulf of Argolis 65 kilometres away.

The picturesque Mount Zavitsa, known in antiquity as Temenion Oros, is one of Mount Parnon’s projections toward the Argolid. Set between two gorges and the mountains of Zavitsa in the northeast and Parnon in the southwest, the monastery was built on and near ancient sites. Archaeological excavation has revealed an ancient settlement north of the river Tanos and east of the Loukou rivulet, on the foothills of Mount Parnon. The evidence for a settlement includes pottery, roof tiles, multi-coloured marble plaques, architectural sculpture, traces of mosaic floors, and a Roman aqueduct preserved in the arch of a bridge that crosses the Loukou rivulet and which served as the monastery’s aqueduct with an ample water supply.

The monastery’s katholikon (main church) was probably built over an Early Christian basilica of the fifth century. The remains of ancient buildings, statues, and architectural sculptures confirm Loukou as a sacred site, where the ancient Greek and Christian civilizations merged well.

Monastery of Virgin Rekitsas

The beautiful road from Dyrrachi to reach this historic monastery is an experience in itself. The monastery featured a secret school and harbored hearoes from the Greek revolution (e.g. Zacharias, Papaflessas, Anagnostaras, Nikitaras, Kolokotronis, etc.). Wall paintings by Michalis Pediotis of Crete date to 1714 .http://arcadia.ceid.upatras.gr/arkadia/engversion/monast.htm
Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin (malevi), near Valtesiniko

This 16th century church has fine wall-paintings and pretty woods close by. The remains of a Byzantine fort can be seen on Aimilianos hill which affords a good view of Mount Chelmos (or Aroania) and Mount Erymanthos.
The monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin, or Malevi, is one of the three most important monasteries in the Kynouria province, together with Loukou and Elona. It is built on Mount Parnon, dubbed ‘Second Mount Athos’ and ‘Mount Athos of Southern Greece’, both because Christians from Mount Athos immigrated here during the reign of Emperor Constantine IV (668-685) and because no other Greek mountain has so many monasteries. The monastery is located on a wooded slope surrounded by fir trees, 920 metres above sea level, in the Agios Petros region, eight kilometres from the town of Xerokampi, 47 kilometres from Tripoli and 30 kilometres from Astros.

Koimiseos Theotokou Mary Malevis,
Established in 1116.  22 009 Ag. Peter Kynouria. Leader in. Parthenia Giova (mon. 14), tel 27920-22630.

Monastery of Panagia Gorgoepikoos of Nestani

Here's an old monastery built in a cave of Kastania mountain, south of Vlacherna. The church is still there but there are no monks today. Access the Monastery from the Tripoli-Patra crossroads just outside Vlacherna.
The monastery of Panagia Gorgoepikoos dominates the landscape east/southeast of the village of Nestani on Mount Goulas (1,160 metres), 980 metres above sea level and approximately fifteen kilometres from Tripoli. Mounts Ktenias, Artemisio, and Lyrkeio rise in the east with Mount Mainalo to the west; between them lies the territory of ancient Mantineia, which Homer calls “Μαντινέη ερατεινή”. Mantinia eratini 

The village of Nestani is located below the monastery, on a plateau of the mountain. The road climbs towards the monastery, which can be accessed through two entrance gates: the arched gate of the storerooms and stables, at the top of an impressive recent stone staircase, in the west and the south gate. The space surrounding the rectangular building complex is empty. The buildings remain two-storied, despite later alterations and renovations. The upper stories contain the monks’ cells and guestrooms, whereas the ground floors and their porches are used for storage.

Strategically located, Mount Goulas hosts numerous hermitages and chapels scattered in its cavernous folds. East of the monastery, inside a cave at the foot of the mountain, are the ruins of a Byzantine church dedicated to the Transfiguration. The remains of buildings and fortification walls on a saddle of the steep mountain suggest the existence of a settlement.

Access to the church of the Transfiguration, which extends into the cave and towards the west, is difficult. Nowadays, only the semi-circular east apse and the beginning of the south wall are preserved. The north side was carved into the rock, which also served as a roof. A retaining wall with a cedar frame supports the west extension. The church was entirely decorated with wall paintings, now partially preserved.
Yperagias Theotokou Gorgoepikoou,
Founded 1100.  22 005 Nestani Mantinea. Joists by a committee of priests (mon. 2), tel: 2710-561209.

Monastery of Panagia Orthokosta near Prasto

The Orthokostas Monastery of the Transfiguration features a marvelous 12th century church with notable Byzantine wall paintings. An Ottoman tower is found nearby.
The monastery of Panagia Orthokosta (or Artokosta), one of the earliest and most characteristic of Kynouria’s monastic centres, retains its traditional appearance. Located twelve kilometres from Agios Andreas, 52 kilometres from Leonidio, and 21 kilometres from Astros, the monastery was built on a truly “pleasant and appropriate site”, as stated in a 1617 sigillion, surrounded by the tall mountain peaks of Stoi, Klinovas, and Schinos. Its north side faces the Vrasiatis valley, while the others overlook a lush landscape. A huge walnut tree shades the large flat area in front of the entrance.
The monastery belongs to the Municipality of Prastos. Currently under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mantineia and Kynouria, it was, in the Middle Ages, subordinate to the Archbishopric of Monemvasia and the Bishopric of Reon and Prastos.
There are two monasteries by the same name dedicated to the Virgin: the current, operational nunnery of Orthokosta (or Artokosta) and the derelict Byzantine monastery, also known as ‘Kato Panagia’, located three kilometres to the northeast, between the Byzantine town of Prastos and the modern town of Agios Andreas. The later name ‘Kato Panagia’ (Lower Panagia) was probably given to the Byzantine monastery after its monks abandoned it and moved further up the slope. Kato Panagia is located on the right hand side of the way up from Agios Andreas, in the Vrasiotis (or Vrasiatis) valley, at a site called Vrysi, after a fountain of the Ottoman period.
Koimiseos Theotokou Artokostas,
Founded 930.  22 006 Agios Andreas Kynouria. It is managed by a committee of priests, tel 27550-52630.  http://www.immk.gr/index.php

St. Nicholas and the Ascension, Valtesiniko

Near Valtesiniko there are two churches that are built in a double cave. Their wall paintings date from the 14th and 15th centuries. The churches were eventually destroyed by the Ottoman troops of Ibrahim Pasha.There are two natural caves in the monastery's interior, each housing a small church: one dedicated to Saint-Nicolas and another one dedicated to the Ascension of Christ.http://www.inarcadia.gr/dd/valtesiniko/valtistpanagoulia_en.htm
Agios Nikolaos Karyas
Agios Nikolaos Karyas, the monastic heart of Kynouria, in the province’s very centre, is a typical fortified Post-Byzantine Peloponnesian monastery. It is located 2-3 kilometres beyond the Artokosta Monastery, on the road to Prastos, 879 metres above sea level, between two heights, the medieval castles of Oriontas and Paliochora.
The names Prasies, Brasies, Prasioi Topoi, Oreioi, Tyros, Apollo Tyrites, all ancient epithets and modern toponyms related to Baskina and Paliochora, provide evidence for the existence of ancient Lakonian cities and their connection to the medieval historical reality. Now located on the coast, Tyros was originally a thriving settlement, the closest to the Karya monastery, opposite Paliochora. Among the old churches preserved at old Tyros is a dependency of the Karya monastery. Within the monastery, the current church of Saint Nicholas was built over an earlier church, of which parts of walls with traces of wall paintings are preserved.
Below Karakovouni is the monastery’s cemetery and its church of the Dormition of the Virgin. The church, which was probably reconstructed in recent times, is identified as the katholikon (main church) of the now defunct mid-eighteenth-century monastery of Karakovouni. It is a relatively large church of the cross-in-square type, with an octagonal dome, a three-sided apse, and a belfry. The roofing is old, combining schist plaques and ceramic tiles.
St. Nicholas Kynouria Karia.
Leader in. Archimandrite. Damascinos Kekesis (mon. 4)  22 006 Ag. Andreas Kynouria tel 27570-31860.

Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Varson
Built on the northwest extreme of Mount Parthenio, on a slope dubbed Koutroufi by the locals, Agios Nikolaos ton Varson is the first monastery that one encounters upon entering Arcadia from the old national road and the Argive Achladokampos. Towards the Argolid in the northeast rise the Gortsouli, Strongylovouni, and Armenia mountains; beyond it lie the Milia plain and Mount Artemisio.
The monastery is located twelve kilometres from Tripoli, near the village of Neochori. On the right hand side of the road from Neochori to the monastery, Mount Samarades dominates the view. On the left stands Mount Agianni, at the foothills of which the remains of the church of Zoodochos Pigi, destroyed under the Ottomans, are still visible. Down the road is a saddle with a church dedicated to the Raising of the Holy Cross. A mountain dubbed Psili Rachi by the locals rises to the right, while Koutroufi, the foothill of Mount Parthenio on which the monastery was built, appears on the left.
St. Nicholas Varson Mantinea,
Established in 1030. PC 221 00 Neochórion Mantinea. Leader in. Archimandrite. Melchizedek Galanis (Mon. 4), tel: 2710-411778.

Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Sintzas
Built on the northwest extreme of Mount Parthenio, on a slope dubbed Koutroufi by the locals, Agios Nikolaos ton Varson is the first monastery that one encounters upon entering Arcadia from the old national road and the Argive Achladokampos. Towards the Argolid in the northeast rise the Gortsouli, Strongylovouni, and Armenia mountains; beyond it lie the Milia plain and Mount Artemisio.

The monastery is located twelve kilometres from Tripoli, near the village of Neochori. On the right hand side of the road from Neochori to the monastery, Mount Samarades dominates the view. On the left stands Mount Agianni, at the foothills of which the remains of the church of Zoodochos Pigi, destroyed under the Ottomans, are still visible. Down the road is a saddle with a church dedicated to the Raising of the Holy Cross. A mountain dubbed Psili Rachi by the locals rises to the right, while Koutroufi, the foothill of Mount Parthenio on which the monastery was built, appears on the left.http://www.immk.gr/index.php

Monastery of Timios Prodromos

On their way from Tripoli to Argos, visitors pass through the magnificent gorge of the river Tanos in the heart of Mount Parnon, which is filled with interesting sites. They then come upon the Kotronas rise and the hermitages of Agia Eleousa, now mere traces of walls inside the shallow caves of Kokkinovrachos, where the rock-hewn church of Agia Eleousa was built. A later church dedicated to the Archangels stands atop Kotronas.

The monastery of Timios Prodromos is located in a remote, inaccessible part of Mount Parnon, near the villages Karatoula, Bernori, Mesorrachi, Kotrona, Kakkavo, Tzorvasi (Pardikovrysi), Platana, Stolo, and Agia Sofia. http://www.immk.gr/index.php


Monastery of Epano Chrepa

The monastery of the Panagia of Epano Chrepa is located a few kilometres west of Tripoli, near the village of Perithorio, on the south slopes of Mount Mainalo, 1,280 metres above sea level. The monastery affords spectacular views over the plain of Tripoli.

The ancient Arcadians considered Mount Mainalo the home of many deities besides those of the Dodekatheon, such as Pan, the Mainalian Dryads, the Amadryads, and the Bacchai. With the advent of Christianity, places of pagan worship were re-sanctified with the construction of Christian churches. No evidence for the new religion dating from the Early Christian period, however, was found on Mount Mainalo. In the Late Byzantine period monks chose this particular site for a monastery dedicated to the Panagia Epanochrepitissa.

Mount Mainalo comprises three peaks: Ostrakina to the north (1,981 metres), Aidini in the middle (1,849 metres), and Epano Chrepa to the south (1,559 metres). The monastery is located on a strategic site that controls the passes from Mainalo into Gortynia, through the Falanthos villages. The Panagia monastery served as refuge when several battles took place nearby.

The shear mass, peaks, and gorges of Mount Mainalo have always provided natural defense. The monks have worked the mountain’s steep schist slope into a series of terraces appropriate for buildings, gardens, and, in recent times, parking for the pilgrim’s vehicles.  
Yperagias Theotokou Epano Chrepa ,
Founded. 1100. T.K.221 00 Perthorion Mantinea. Joists by a committee (mon. 1), tel 2710-223. 498.

Monastery of Panagia Kandilas

The monastery of Panagia Kandila is located in the northeast extremities of Arcadia, 38 kilometres from Tripoli and 15 kilometres from Levidi. Perched inside a cave on a majestic rock, the monastery dominates the site of ancient Orchomenos. Before it lies the plain of Kandila and Levidi, which stretches westward and to the northern foothills of Mount Mainalo.

The rock rises in the serene landscape of the so-called ‘Argon (Barren) Field’, inside the narrow valley of Orchomenos, between Mount Oligyrtos and Mount Trachy. The ancient Arcadians named this part of the valley ‘Argon Field’ because it was impossible to cultivate, since rainwater gathered here in winter months turning the plain into a lake. The mountains north of Kandila provide a single narrow pass making this one of the better-protected entries into Arcadia since antiquity.

Dubbed Trypes (= holes) or Monastiri by the locals, the monastery is tucked away on the rocky west slope of Mount Kroustallies, south and out of sight of the village of Kandila. This impressive rock monastery is well known for its contribution to the Greek War of Independence through its strategic location and its militant monks.

The picturesque village of Kandila is located north of Levidi (12 kilometres), on the south foothills of Mount Oligyrtos (760 metres above sea level), near Arcadia’s border with the Prefectures of the Argolid and Corinthia. The road leading to mountainous Corinthia passes by the village, which sits on the edge of a fertile plain, surrounded by olive trees. The local economy is based primarily on agriculture (cereals, olives, vegetables) and to a lesser extent on animal husbandry and commerce.

Monastery of Panagia Elonis (Dormition of the Virgin)

The majestic and imposing monastery of Panagia Eloni stands on a huge rocky crag of Mount Parnon, halfway between Leonidio and Kosmas, 14 kilometres from the former and 107 kilometres from Tripoli. The crag rises inside the Dafnon gorge, one of the many steep, wild gorges carved by the Dafnias River, ancient Selinountas. Following the river’s course, the visitor arrives before Parnon’s massive rock-face; a hanging balcony at the base of the monastery offers the awestricken viewer a spectacular sight.

The monastery’s spiritual radiance reaches beyond the confines of Kynouria, from Lakonia to the Argolid and the islands of Hydra and Spetses. Its feast day attracts pilgrims from all over Greece. The monastery celebrates the feast of the Dormition on August 23, but its main feast day is the Virgin’s Presentation to the Temple on November 21. Originally, the Panagia was celebrated as Zoodochos Pigi on August 15 (Dormition of the Virgin).
Koimiseos Theotokou Elonis,
Established in 1300.  22 300 LEONIDIO Kynouria. Leader in. Parthenia Pilioura (mon. 3), tel

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