Monasteries of the area



Convent (formerly Monastery) of Loukous

The area of Parnonas is often referred to as "the little holy mountain of southern Greece" (as distinct from the very famous Aghio Oros in Halkidiki) because it has so many monasteries. In recent years the monks have in fact handed over most of them to nuns, and so these so-called monasteries are now technically convents. However, the old word is still in common use .

Located in a very picturesque site, close to the village of Kato Doliana, this convent (officially called The Transfiguration of Christ) is generally known as the Monastery of Loukous.  It became a convent in 1946.  It is about 7 km from Paralio Astros, opposite the Villa of Herodus Atticus, and is built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Polemachus (grandson of Askleipius). The current Byzantine-style building dates from 1117 AD, although the site was first used as a place of Christian worship as early as the 5th century AD. The name Loukous means 'holy forest'. The Capuchins gave the monastery this name when they acquired it as part of the Venetian occupation of the area.  At that time this was an area of thick forest. The monastery holds a library of manuscripts (e.g. a Gospel of 1781), some important reliquaries, and part of the Holy Cross. In the courtyard there are marbles of the Roman period. Next to the monastery there is a bridge and an aqueduct, both also Roman. During the War of Independence the monastery played a significant role. In 1826 it was burnt by the Turks, who destroyed many of the manuscripts.

Convent of Malevis

This monastery, at 950 metres above sea level, is surrounded by a unique forest of Dendrokedrou (Junipers), trees that are particular to the region.  This area also has many endemic flora, such as specific kinds of tulips, cyclamen and crocuses.The site is 44 km from Tripolis, about 30 km from Astros, and 5 km from Aghios Petros. The first monastery here was built in the 14th century, and the current layout dates essentially from the 16th century. However in the 17th and 18th centuries the Turks destroyed the buildings, and most of what can be seen today dates from the 19th century. Today, this is the most well-known monastery in the area, and large numbers of pilgrims come here every year.

Convent of Palaiopanagia

With access from the first hair-pin bends on the road up from Astros to Aghianni and Aghios Petros, but lying on the hillside across the valley to the south, is this small convent dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first church here was built in the 13th century. The present building was constructed in 1814, on an attractive wooded site covered with shrubs and low trees. From here, there are spectacular views of Astros and the Thirea plain, and across the Argolic Gulf to the mountains of Argolida.

Convent of Orthokostas

On the road from Aghios Andreas to Kastanitsa, about 20 km from Astros, lies the oldest and most famous ?monastery? (religious foundation) of Tsakonias.The ruins of the original 12th century monastery can be seen on the right-hand side of the road, a few metres before reaching the current church (1617, in the Byzantine style). There is a famous icon here, believed to be the work of St Luke the Evangelist. The monastery was burnt down by the Turks in 1826, and rebuilt in 1865.







Agios Nikolaos