From Ithaca's capital,
Vathi the drive around this picturesque bay is outstanding,
travelling north around Molos Gulf the road very quickly becomes
steep and winding. The views across the gulf overlooking Vathi
are really memorable. The Monastery Katharon is reached within
a distance of approximately 15 kilometres, at an altitude
of 556 metres
on Mount Niritos. The monastery
is connected by a three kilometre long road to the island's
oldest village of Anoghi, which means, 'at the top of the world'.
two theories concerning the construction of a church
and a monastery, both dedicated to Virgin Mary (Panaghia).
The first claims that peasants came to the area to
burn 'kathara', (e.g. wild grass and thorns), they found Virgin
Mary's icon and decided
to build a church here. The second related the foundation
of the monastery with the Catholic sect of Kathara. Whichever
of the two
views is true, it is a fact that Virgin Mary's church was built
and the monastery that was built a few years later
was active until the 1980s.
monastery was used as a hospital for the wounded during the
Since then it is open only in the summer months to enable visitors
the remarkable wall paintings, the valuable reredos,
and the icon of Panagia, which is believed was painted by the
apostle Luke. The 8th of September is the date of the monastery's
celebration. Following the service, a festivity with food and
place, which is organized mainly by the people of Anoghi. The
proceeds of the festivities go towards the restoration of the
I arrived here early morning and was quite amused to find that
the local goats had taken over the area around the monastery,
especially around the bell tower where many were still fast
asleep. As I walked to the far wall past the bell tower I was
met with an unforgettable panoramic view
of the isthmus of Ithaca, with Vathi far below me in the distance. I just sat
on my own in this peaceful setting absorbing the magnificent
view below me.
. . . An absolutely breathtaking view of this beautiful island,
I will treasure.