Visit the Monastery of Osios Loukas in Arachova, Greece
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The Monastery of Osios Loukas, which is located in Arachova, Greece, is one of the places you should visit while in Arachova. Sure, there are plenty of sites to see while in this beautiful places, but the monastery offers for a unique experience. It is an excellent place to catch a glimpse of history and view a piece of the unique culture of Greece. Here’s more information:
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Monastery has one of three churches recognized by UNESCO in the country. The organization recognizes the complex as one of the most notable examples of Byzantine architecture in the world because of the cross-and-square design of the Church of Theotokos. The church is made of bricks, marble, and stone and is the only church known to have been constructed during the 10th century.
The church sits next to the Katholikon Cathedral, which is believed to have been built in 1011 and 1012. The Katholikon Cathedral, with its marble slab walls, is the earliest extant domed-octagon church in the world. The Katholikon Cathedral is the only surviving structure with eight pillars that transform into four arches and surround a central dome.
About Osios Loukas
The complex, which includes a crypt, belfry, monk’s cells and other buildings, is dedicated to Osios Loukas, who was initially buried here and whose bones are said to have given off a sweet perfume. When pilgrims would sleep near the crypt, miracles would occur. The bones were later taken to Rome, and Loukas was made a saint. He is best known because he predicted the liberation of Crete from the Arabs in 961. Today, there is still an active monastery at the location that raises organic farm products that you can buy nearby when you visit.
Artwork at the Monastery
Inside the churches, some of the best-preserved frescos and murals in the world decorate the walls. While the Greek government helped cover much of the expenses of building the monastery, the local aristocracy, especially the Theban family of Leovachos, is responsible for the interior decorations.
A huge Christ Pantocrator mosaic covers the interior of the dome. The altar is covered by a breathtaking mosaic of the 12 apostles on Pentecost. The hemi-circular dome near the central dome depicts the Virgin Mary and child. The four main hemi-circle vault walls have a large mural showcasing the baptism in the Jordan with Jesus being portrayed as a young man.
Most of the small chapels surrounding the main worship area have even more artwork in them. Christ raising the dead is depicted in a large mosaic in the narthex. While some damage exists, the area right outside the crypt is decorated with dark frescos telling the passion story.
Vising the Monastery of Osios Loukas
While ladies will need to wear a skirt or dress and guys need to wear long pants, a visit to the Monastery of Osios Loukas should be on your Greek itinerary. Spend time in the crypt seeing the dark frescos that were restored by the Greek Archaeological Service in the 1960s.
Then, move on to the church with its large frescos decorated with gold leaf. While you will spend much time looking up, make sure to look down so that you can see the mosaic tiles decorating the floor. Tour a monk’s bedroom to get a feel for how simply they live. Take a drink from the water fountain where the water is believed to cure many ailments.
There are many places you will want to visit in Greece, but make sure that one of them is the Monastery of Osios Loukas!
This post was written by Greek Boston