Early in the morning before an excursion to Ancient Delphi I walked along Modern Delphi and enjoyed this tiny and piqturescue town.
You may watch 3 min 37 sec VIDEO-Clip Greece Delphi Modern out of my YouTube Channel with popular Greek music.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Modern Delphi on Google Earth according to the following coordinates 38º 28' 42.68" N 22º 28' 47.70" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Modern Delphi Street, Modern Delphi Church, Modern Delphi Monument, View at the Gorge from Modern Delphi.
There is a copy of the famous bronze statue Charioteer of Delphi in the State Pushkin Art Museum in Moscow.
I know this statue from my childhood and could never imagine to see the original of the statue in Delphi. Now my dream has come true!
You have to really want to be here, to get here, it's so high up in the mountains, away from many of the distractions of civilization below...just enjoy the views, that's the big thing, the views that have you questioning if you are still on planet Earth...sighhhh...
What the monastery of Osios Loukas is famous for, is the superb mosaics.
The mosaics represent the Middle Byzantine decorative art and date from the first half of the 11th century. The Pantocrator and Archangels in the dome belong to a later phase. The mosaic decoration of the walls was completed by contemporary wall paintings in the chapels of the west side.
The whole village of Delphi is making a living on tourists. You will find plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops. They are not all tourist traps. However, it might be a good idea, after or before visiting the sanctuary to go to Arachova, 12 km away and spend the night there instead of Delphi. The village of Arachova is nice, in a mountain landscape, much quiter than Delphi. You will find a good choice of hotels and restaurants
The monastery can be easily visited if you have your own car but in many cases it is included in the itineraries of many tours in mainland Greece.
To visit you must dress accordingly, as a minimnal respect for a holy shrine.
OPEN: May-mid-Sept., daily 8-2 and 4-7; mid-Sept.-Apr., daily 8-5.
There is admission fee.
24 km southwest of Arachova, you can make this side tour if you just turn your car south toward Dhistomo at the junction. There you have the Byzantine monastery of Osios Loukas which has been declared as an UNESCO heritage monument.
The monastic complex at Osios Loukas (still inhabited by a few monks) it is notable for both its exquisite mosaics and its antiquity.
The monastery was founded by the hermit Loucas Stereiotis, around mid 10th century (the church of the Theotocos was built at his time). He was declared a saint of the Orthodox Church and his relics are kept to the crypt below the catholicon when this was built.
The catholicon church is built over a large crypt with groin vaults forming the roof.
It is dedicated to St. Barbara and contains the tomb of Osios Loukas the Hermit in the north wall. His relics, formerly in the Vatican, were moved here in 1987, making the monastery an official shrine.
The roof and much of the walls are covered with wall paintings, dated to the first half of the 11th century.
The monastic complex consists of two churches
The smaller church, dedicated to the Theotocos (Virgin Mary), was built in the 10th century and it is the earliest known example of the four-column, cross-in-square type, it has a spacious, two-column narthex on the west side and a portico to the west of it which actually connects it to the Catholicon bigger church. The walls are built in cloisonné masonry and are decorated with rich brick ornaments. There were beautiful wall paintings of 11th-12th century but traces of earlier frescos have also been revealed.
The "Catholikon" a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, was built in the 11th century over the tomb of Osios Loukas and follows the Byzantine octagonal cross-in-a-square plan under a central dome, inspired by Ayia Sophia, later on, used as a model for both the Monastery of Daphni and Mystra churches. It has a large, tall cupola with a diameter of 9m. A two-storeyed narthex was built on the west side. The church was built of large, ancient stone blocks and the external walls are very simple, without brick ornaments.
Allow yourself to walk around the church interior and apart from admiring the mosaics and painting, sense the special feeling that comes out of Orthodox Byzantine churches.
The reason for densively decorated walls in these old churches (but also in newer ones) is to remind the believers the life of Jesus plus the example of myriad of martyrs of Christian fiath whose martyrdom may also be represented to inspire.
An arched door with painted facade, is the first thing you see as soon before you get into the church complex. The painting most probable represents the burial of Osisos Loukas and it is typical of Orthodox econography.
The town of Delphi sits on the edge of a cliff and despite the number of tourists and the abundance of tourism-oriented businesses, this is still a very remarkable place to be. Hotels are plentiful, there are two campgrounds within a few kilometers of the town and numerous restaurants including the Taverna Vlachos, recommended by Lonely Planet and featuring a beautiful view of the valley as well as good food at reasonable prices.
The dome with the typical Byzantine painting of Christ as Pantocrator, comes into contrast with the golden background of the mosaics.
On the periphery of the monastery complex is the monks' cells and a refectory.
The outside of the buildings is typically Byzantine, with rough stonework interspersed with an arched brick pattern.