The Holy Monastery of Zographou (or Zograf) is located on the southwestern side of the Athos Peninsula in northern Greece. The monastery is dedicated to St. George. According to tradition, the monastery was founded during the 10th century by three Bulgarian brothers, the monks Moses, Aaron, and John from Ohrid. While the monastery initially was inhabited by Bulgarian, Greek, and Serbian monks, since 1845 the monks are only Bulgarians. Zographou is ranked ninth in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries located on the Mount Athos peninsula.
The earliest record of the Zographou is from 980. During its early years the monastery was well supported by Bulgarian rulers, especially Ivan Asen II and Ivan Alexander. Zographou also received land endowments from the Byzantine emperors and Serbian and Romanian rulers.
As were many of the Athonite monasteries at the time Zographou suffered from raids by the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea, especially during the 13th century when the peninsula was ruled by Frankish forces after they had conquered Constantinople in 1204. In 1275, Catalan pirates made a major raid for plunder on the monastery, a raid in which 26 monks were killed and the monastery burnt down. Reconstruction of the buildings started later in the century, aided financially by Emperor Adronicus II Palaeologus.
Further major construction in the monastery began in the 16th century, with many of the existing buildings dating from the middle of the 18th century. The south and east wings were built in 1750 and 1758 respectively. A small church was built in 1764 and a larger one in 1801. The north and west wings were built in late 19th century and with the construction of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church and bell tower major construction was completed in 1896.
At present all monks in the monastery are Bulgarian, and all services are in Church Slavonic.
The collection in the monastery library preserves a significant presentation of Bulgarian culture. It contains manuscripts from the 14th and 15th centuries, including copies of the passionals of Naum of Ohrid and St. Petka. Additionally, the library contains 388 manuscripts in Slavic and 126 in Greek, as well as some 10,000 printed books.
The monastery also has two miraculous icons of St. George as well as icons of the Virgin of Akathistos and the Virgin Epakouousa. In addition, the monastery has other heirlooms and ecclesiastical vessels.References:
Soave castle was built in 934 to protect the area against the Hungarian invasions. It was remodelled by Cansignorio of the Scaliger family in the mid-1300s. in 1365 Cansignorio had the town walls erected and the Town hall was built in the same year.
The castle underwent various vicissitudes until, having lost its strategic importance, it was sold on the private market in 1596. In 1830 it was inherited by Giulio Camuzzoni who restored the manor and in particular the surroundings walls (with is twenty-four towers), the battlements and living-quarters.
Soave castle is a typical medieval military edifice, commanding the neighbourhood of the city from the Tenda Hill. It comprises a mastio (donjon) and three lines of walls forming three courts of different size. The outer line, with a gate and a draw bridge, is the most recent, built by the Venetians in the 15th century. It houses the remains of a small church from the 10th century.
The second and larger court, the first of the original castle, is called della Madonna for a fresco portraying St. Mary (1321). Another fresco is visible after the door leading to the inner court, and portrays a Scaliger soldier. The mastio is the most impressive feature of the castle. Bones found within showed it was used also as prison and place of torture.
The House called del Capitano (the Scaliger commander) houses Roman coins, weapons parts, medals and other ancient remains found during the most recent restoration. Adjacent is a bedroom with a 13th-century fresco with St. Mary and Madeleine and a dining room with medieval kitchenware. Another room houses the portraits of the most famous Scaliger figures: Mastino I, Cangrande, Cansignorio and Taddea da Carrara, wife of Mastino II; the portrait of Dante Alighieri testify an alleged sojourn of the poet in the castle.