St. Stephen Monastery

Kalabaka, Greece

The Monastery of St. Stephen was founded by St. Antoninus Cantacuzene, who is thought to be a son of the Serb ruler Nicephorus II of Epirus, in c. 1400.

This monastery rests on the plain rather than on a cliff. It was shelled by the Nazis during World War II who believed it was harboring insurgents and was abandoned. The monastery was given over to nuns in 1961 and they have reconstructed it into a flourishing nunnery, with 28 nuns in residence in 2015.

The old katholikon (main church), which was rebuilt in 1545 and frescoed shortly thereafter, still stands. The new katholikon was built in 1798 and is currently being frescoed by a modern artist. It is dedicated to the martyred St. Charalambos, whose head it contains.

The refectory (15th century) has a surviving fresco of the Virgin in the apse. The monastery contains a small museum of vestments and other religious objects and the nuns sell handmade embroideries and other trinkets.

Monasteries of Meteora are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Meteora, Kalabaka, Greece
See all sites in Kalabaka

Details

Founded: c. 1400
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sebastian Muñoz (6 months ago)
I felt a little bit scammed because I was the only one guy who had to buy trousers to can go in. The others guys inside were wearing shorts like me, and they didn't have to pay for trousers to enter. Otherwise nice place, with easy access.
Dries De Laet (6 months ago)
Our favorite monastery during our visit in meteora. The residents of the monastery are present in everything: entrance, souvenir store ... this makes everything feel super authentic and creates an extra calming atmosphere. Moreover, the gardens are beautifully maintained.
Crocheting with Amaryllis (6 months ago)
A really beautiful place to visit, an unbelievable view, and it is the oldest nunnery/monastery in meteora also the only nunnery. Women have to wear a dress or a skirt over the shoulders and under the knees, men have to wear long trousers and a shirt over the shoulders.
Andy Xufuris (6 months ago)
Not my favorite place, but I'm also not the most religious. It's very pretty to see. The view is great and the monastery is very nice. Not to much to see though but I can see why religious people would like to see it. The bathrooms certainly need to be updated... It's 2021, people should not be using holes in the ground anymore
Mike X (8 months ago)
Despite the website, they ARE still providing temporary skirts. Great views of kalambaka from inside. It's a got a church and really small museum (no photos allowed in either). Church is full of imagery on the walls and ceilings!
Powered by Google

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.