Located near the town of Distomo in Boeotia, Greece, the Ossios Loukas Monastery was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, and although it is often overlooked, it is definitely worth a visit, both for its architecture and for the landscape in which it is set.
Monastery of Ossios Loukas: informations
The monastery of Ossios Loukas (St. Luke) is situated on the summit of Helicon, which at 1,748 meters is the highest mountain in Boeotia.
The beautiful landscape dotted with olive trees and the solitude of the place convinced Luke the Styrian to retire here in hermitage. Upon his death in 953, his tomb became a pilgrimage destination; thus a monastery, a church dedicated to the saint and several chapels were built.
Today the Ossios Loukas Monastery is a World Heritage Site thanks to the originality of its architecture and the quality of the paintings and mosaics that can be seen inside the churches.
Externally, the Monastery is characterized by arches, apses and central domes; inside we find the classic example of a Byzantine building with a Greek cross plan inscribed in a square. Not to be missed are the mosaics recounting the life of Jesus.
We next find the tomb of St. Luke and the nearby church dedicated to the Mother of God; via an external staircase we can visit the crypt dedicated to St. Barbara, which has a funerary character in that it once housed the tomb of St. Luke.
A curiosity: in 1950 the monastery of Ossios Loukas passed into the hands of the Ministry of Archaeology and was considered a museum in its own right. In 1987, through the intermediary of the then minister of culture, the monastery returned under the administration of the church.
Outside the monastery but still within the walls of the monastic citadel, there is a small store selling local products such as honey and ‘pasteli’ a typical sweet made from sesame seeds and honey, good but very caloric!
Ossios Loukas Monastery: opening hours and cost
Ossios Loukas Monastery is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in summer.
Admission to the monastery is free, while the museum costs €3 per person.
Attention to dress: remember to enter with covered shoulders and legs.
There is free parking near the entrance.
Around the monastery of Ossios Loukas
Arachova is a beautiful little town located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, about 20 minutes from Ossios Loukas Monastery. It can be recognized by its small houses clinging to the rock, which are very characteristic. It definitely deserves a stop to stroll through its stone alleys and admire the view. If you wanted to stay overnight, there are several interesting solutions such as the Domotel Anemolia Mountain Resort: swimming pool, breakfast (and if you want dinner) included, possibility of family rooms in a great location! Book here.
Situated on the southern slopes of Mount Parnassus, the Sanctuary of Delphi is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in all of Greece, in a truly impressive mountain setting. Delphi is worth a visit for its Sanctuary but also for visiting the pretty town and for interesting trekking in the surrounding area. If you want more information, you can check out this article.
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