Religious sites in Greece

Church of Prophet Elijah

The Church of Prophet Elijah is a 14th-century church in Thessaloniki, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is located in the upper quarter of the old city, and dates to the Palaiologan period, but its original dedication is unknown. In Ottoman times, it was known as the Saraylı Mosque (Palace Mosque or Court Mosque), and through a misinterpretation of this name came about its modern dedication to the Pr ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery

St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery is one of six monasteries built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area of Meteora. Hermits seem to have first occupied this rock in the early 14th century, as evidenced by remains of frescoes in the Chapel of St. Anthony. The present monastery was founded in 1510 by St. Dionysius, Metropolitan of Larisa, and Nikanoras, priest-monk and exar ...
Founded: 1510 | Location: Kalabaka, Greece

Church of Hosios David

The Church of Hosios David is a late 5th-century church in Thessaloniki. In Byzantine times, it functioned as the katholikon of the Latomos Monastery, and received rich mosaic and fresco decoration, which was renewed in the 12th–14th centuries. The surviving examples are of high artistic quality. Under Ottoman rule, the building was converted into a mosque (probably in the 16th century), until it was reconsecrated as a ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos

The Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos is an early 14th-century Byzantine church in Thessaloniki. The church"s name, 'Saint Nicholas the Orphan', is first attested in the 17th and 18th centuries, and presumably refers to its otherwise unknown ktetor (founder). From its interior decoration, the building is dated to the period 1310–1320. The church originally formed part of a monastery, traces of which (re ...
Founded: 1310-1320 | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Simonopetra Monastery

Simonopetra Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos. Simonopetra ranks thirteenth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries. The monastery is located in the southern coast of the Athos peninsula. While the southern coast of Athos is quite rugged in general, the particular site upon which the monastery is built is exceptionally harsh. It is built on top of a single huge rock, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mount Athos, Greece

Church of Saints Iasson and Sossipatros

Church of Saints Iasson and Sossipatros is dedicated to the two Saints Iasson and Sosipatros, both Paul"s disciples, who spread the Christianity on Corfu island.This church was constructed in the 11th century on the ruins of a monastery and it is one of the few examples of Byzantine architecture left standing. Stones collected from abandoned ancient buildings were used in its construction and expert builders were ca ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Corfu, Greece

Preveli Monastery

Preveli Monastery comprises two main building complexes, the ruined Lower Monastery of St. John the Baptist, and the currently operational Upper (Rear) Monastery of St. John the Theologian. The monastery was probably founded in the Middle Ages, during the occupation of Crete by the Republic of Venice, its founder being a feudal lord named Prevelis. It developed over several centuries as a religious and cultural centre ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Ágios Vasíleios, Greece

Basilica of Palaiopolis

The Basilica of Palaiopolis, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Corfu, was built in the mid-5th AD century by the Bishop Ioviano. The temple was built in the center of the Roman market of Corfu. It was a five-aisled basilica with a transept, double narthex, atrium and rich sculpture and mosaic decoration. For building materials from the adjacent ancient pagan temples , which still visible on its walls. The ...
Founded: 5th century AD | Location: Corfu, Greece

Church of the Holy Apostles

The Byzantine church of the Holy Apostles is located at the start of Olympou Street, near the city"s western medieval walls. As evidenced by remnants of a column to the south of the church and a cistern to its northwest, it originally formed part of a larger complex. Consequently, it appears that the church was originally built as the katholikon of a monastery. The date of its construction is not entirely clear: t ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Pantocrator Church

Just in front of Vlaherna Monastery there is an island called Pontikonissi on which there is only one building: the church of Pantocrator. According to one interpretation of the Odyssey this island would be the ship of Ulysses that was turned into rock by Poseidon while, according to another legend would be the rock on which Ulysses" ship crashed during a storm. The church of Pantocrator was built in the 13th centur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Corfu, Greece

Hilandar Monastery

Hilandar Monastery is the northern most monastery located on the northeast side of the Athos Peninsula. The monastery was founded in 1198 by saints Sava and Simeon. The Monastery has been supported and populated by Serbian monkssince then. It is ranked fourth in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries located on the Mount Athos peninsula. After forming the Serbian state Stephen Nemanja, the Grand Župan o ...
Founded: 1198 | Location: Mount Athos, Greece

Imaret of Komotini

The Imaret of Komotini, one of the oldest Ottoman monuments in Thrace from 1360 - 1380. In 1996 it was moved as an ecclesiastical museum.
Founded: 1360-1380 | Location: Komotini, Greece

Toplou Monastery

Toplou monastery is one of the most significant monasteries in Crete, dedicated to Virgin Mary and St. John the Theologian. It was founded around the mid-15th century, probably on the ruins of an earlier convent. The monastery was plundered by the knights of Malta in 1530 and shattered in 1612 by a strong earthquake. Due to its strategic position, the senate of the Republic of Venice, then ruler of Crete, decided to ...
Founded: c. 1450 | Location: Sitia, Greece

Peribleptos Monastery

The Peribleptos Monastery is a late Byzantine-era monastery in Mystras, Greece. It was probably built in the mid-14th century by the first Despot of the Morea, Manuel Kantakouzenos, and named after one of the most celebrated monasteries of Byzantine Constantinople. The Monastery is built into the side of a cliff with a cave supporting the structure. This architectural style is known as the Mystras style and is prevalent i ...
Founded: c. 1348 | Location: Mystras, Greece

Church of Saint Catherine

The Church of Saint Catherine is a late Byzantine church in the northwestern corner of the Ano Poli, Thessaloniki. The church dates to the Palaiologan period, but its exact dating and original dedication are unknown. From its interior decoration, which survives in fragments and is dated to ca. 1315, it has been suggested that it was the katholikon of the Monastery of the Almighty. It was converted to a mosque by Yakup P ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Great Lavra

The Monastery of Great Lavra is the first monastery built on Mount Athos. The founding of the monastery in AD 963 by Athanasius the Athonite marks the beginning of the organized monastic life at Mount Athos. Athanasius began the construction according to the will of his friend and Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas who funded the project. The emperors gave also the Great Lavra many other lands of property incl ...
Founded: 963 AD | Location: Mount Athos, Greece

St Panteleimon Monastery

Saint Panteleimon Monastery was built in 1843 and became monastery in 1987. According to inhabitants of Thassos, someone wanted to build it in favor of Saint Panteleimon. The workers started the building at a location, but the next day when they wanted to continue with the construction, the part they had built was found destroyed and their tools were missing. The same happened on the following days. One day they saw footp ...
Founded: 1843 | Location: Thasos, Greece

Keras Kardiotissas Monastery

The Eastern Orthodox Keras Kardiotissas is dedicated to Virgin Mary that is situated near the village of Kera of the Heraklion regional unit in Crete. It is built on the north slopes of Mt. Dikti, at an altitude of 650 m and a location that is approximately 50 km east of Heraklion, next to the road to Lasithi Plateau. The exact date of the monastery"s establishment is unknown. However, references to it ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Chersónisos, Greece

St. Nicholas Fountoukli Church

Passing through the villages Archipoli and Psinthos,you reach Eleousa. By following the road west of the village you arrive in Agios Nikolaos Fountoukli. The church dates from the 14th to 15th century A.D. and is a central square building covered with a dome. The frescoes, which date also from the 14th to 15th century A.D., show some iconographic peculiarities. The two portraits of the donors make us assume that one of th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Eleousa, Greece

Hodegetria Monastery

Hodegetria Monastery is one of the oldest and grandest monasteries on Crete, with its history closely linked to that of small monasteries and hermitages in the Asteroussia region. It is a citadel-type monastery, with a large fortified tower in its courtyard that protected the monks from pirates arriving by sea in the south. According to tradition, this tower was initially built by Nikiforos Fokas in 961 AD. Howe ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Phaistos, Greece

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.