Monasteries to Visit in Kalavrita, Greece
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Located in the mountains of Achaea, is the town of Kalavrita. The flowing rivers, cave lakes, snowy mountains, and dirt roads all come together to create this beautiful area. The town features stone houses with red tile roofs and cobblestone alleys. Kalavrita is also home to a few monasteries. When you’re visiting this charming town, you will want to stop and see these exquisite pieces of history.
The Monastery of Mega Spileo
Located just 10 km from the town of Kalavrita, is the Holy Monastery of Mega Spileo. The monastery is built on the slopes of a rocky hill. It is located 924 meters up, which provides an amazing view when you’re on the balcony. The style is reminisent of a fortress and is eight floors high. The Monastery of Mega Spileo was built by two brothers named Theodore and Symeon in 362 AD.
This particular spot was chosen because a shepherd girl had found an icon of the Virgin Mary inside a cave. Throughout the years, the monastery has been burned and otherwise damaged and rebuilt a few times. Today, the monastery is still an impressive structure. There is a 17th century church on site that has mosaic floors and wonderful frescos.
The Monastery of Agia Lavra
Constructed in 961 BC, the Monastery of Agia Lavra is found at an altitude of 960 meters, which offers amazing views of the river valley of Vouraikos. Over the years the monastery has been rebuilt at least three times due to attacks and fires. The monastery you see today was built with donations of pilgrims and support of the state. The Monastery of Agia Lavra is one of the oldest in the Peloponnese. It is located on Chelmos Mountain, which is sometimes described as the birthplace of modern Greece. At the monastery’s museum you can view items such as books, icons, sacred vessels, and the Gospel of Tsarina Catherine II of Russia.
The Monastery of Panagia Makellaria
Established in 532 AD, the Monastery of Panagia Makellaria is found near the village of Lapanagi and 30 km from the town of Kalavrita. It was originally called the Monastery of Panagia Lithostrotiotissa meaning “Virgin Mary of the Stones.” After the monastery was burnt down by the Ottomans in 1458, it was renamed Makellaria from the word makelio, which means “destruction.” Some of the exhibits you can see at the monastery include weapons from the fighters of the Greek Revolution and the holy icon of the Virgin Mary. The icon of the Virgin Mary is set on a wooden carved screen and its eyes appear to follow you wherever you go.
The Church of Panagia Plataniotissa
Located 30 km from Kalavrita, the Church of Panagia Plataniotissa is a site you will not want to miss. This church was constructed in the cavity of three large plane trees, which came together to form one large plane tree. A small temple with two columns form the beautiful gate of this unique church.
When visiting Kalavrita, Greece, be sure to stop and see these monasteries that will transport you back in time.
This post was written by Greek Boston