The monastery of the Holy Theotokos, also known as Paleokastritsa Monastery, is one of the oldest in Corfu, dating to 1225. The reasons for visiting this monastery are two-fold. Set on the top of the cape, the views from the monastery are stunningly dramatic and indescribably beautiful. Perhaps the most visited of the island’s religious sites, due to its amazing position, it is also steeped in history.
It is built on the western side of the central bay of Paleokastritsa. Access to the monastery is by way of a steep, narrow road there starts from the main beach and winds its way through lush, green groves of tall cypress and olive trees. Pedestrians and vehicles share the road, so caution should be taken. Please note that there is a traffic light, which should not be ignored, as the road is one-way traffic only.
The main section, that of the Church, dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary, and the monk’s cells were added in the 18th Century. Inside the monastery is a courtyard with a portico and a modern building which houses a small museum of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, books, souvenirs and memorabilia. For those interested in anthropology, there is also the very impressive, massive skeleton of a whale, which is said to have been killed by a fisherman in the 19th century.
On the lower level are the old olive press and shops with local products on sale namely wine, kumquat preserve, Kumquat liqueur, jams and Limoncello (lemon liqueur).
Dress code is expected to be modest; woman’s shoulders and bare legs to be covered. Skirts and shawls are provided at the entrance to the monastery for those inappropriately attired. Please note that there is the monastic code of silence which is also to be respected.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.