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Monasteries to Visit in Astypalaia, Greece

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Astypalaia is a Greek island that is considered one of the most beautiful in the Aegean. The main village of Astypalaia is of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades with whitewashed houses with blue windows, flowery yards, stone windmills, and labyrinth alleys. When spending time on the island, there are a number of monasteries and churches that are worth your time to explore. Here are a few to see when in Astypalaia, Greece.

Agios Ioannis Monastery

Agios Ioannis Monastery was built between two slopes, 12 km from Hora on the island of Astypalaia. This monastery is not only surrounded by the beauty of orchards, streams, and a waterfall, but it also offers a breathtaking panoramic view that includes the sea and the islet of Ofidoussa and Pontikoussa. Agios Ioannis Monastery can be reached via a hiking path or by boat. Across from the monastery is the ruins of a castle of the same name. It is thought that the castle and monastery communicated through a secret tunnel. The castle was abandoned during the 16th centurt after it was plundered and the residents were sold as slaves.

Church of Panagia Poulariani

Located on a rocky hill near Vathy Village, the Church of Panagia is the protector of sailors. Stories from fishermen claim that during the night, a light would shine from the church to help them find their way to the island. The shape of the rock that the church is built on resembles the image of Virgin and Child. You can get to the Church of Panagia Poulariani by boat or by walking path from Vathi Village.

Church of Panagia Portaitissa

The Church of Panagia Portaitissa can be reached from the Town Hall of Hora via a street that leads directly there. The church is of a blend of Aegean and neoclassical architecture. The Church of Panagia Portaitissa was built during the 18th century at the foot of a castle. It was founded by a monk named Anthimos, who also founded other churches around the southern Aegean Sea. It features ornamental edge tiles at the molding, three-storey steeple, and light blue dome. The church is the most important pilgrimage site on the island of Astypalaia. The icon at the Church of Panagia Portaitissa is the Guardian of the hearth, is a replica of the icon from the Monastery of Iviron on Mount Athos. At the church, you will also be able to view an exhibition of church artifacts.

Church of Panagia Kastrou

The Church of Panagia Kastrou, along with the Church of Agios Georgios, is located within the Castle of Guerini. Both churches are whitewashed with blue domes. The churches also offer wonderful panoramic views of the nearby islands. Inside the Church of Panagia Kastrou, you will see a carved iconostasis that features gold leaf. Inside the Church of Agios Georgios, you can admire the wooden temple that is impressive.

While in Asypalaia you should absolutely visit these monasteries and churches!

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