Hozoviotissa Monastery in Amorgos

The Monastery of Hozoviotissa in Amorgos: In the enchanting islet of Amorgos, part of the Cyclades islands, you come across the famous monastery of Hozoviotissa. An 11th-century structure built by Alexius Comnenus I, the monastery was created as an ode to the Grace of Panagia, known as the Virgin Mary, who is also the saint protector of the island. Her icon was believed to have arrived on an unmanned boat from Palestine.

A perfect blend of nature and the beauty of man's creation, the monastery symbolizes man's tribute to the Holy Mother. Built into the face of a cliff, it provides a breathtaking view of the sparkling blue waters of the Aegean Sea. It is with no doubt, the pride of Amorgos, with its pristine walls lined with portraits of monks and other leaders, the smell of incense and numerous little treasures.

Being a place of remarkable historical relevance, there is a dress code, which requires men to wear trousers and women long skirts. Visitors are greeted first by signs reminding them of the dress code and then by monks, who act as guardians of this architectural marvel, and are given refreshments in the form of glasses of honey, raki liqueur, and loukoumi.

A low marble doorway leads to a staircase, that leads to the higher levels onto the chapel where treasures and icons are kept. Some of the famous treasures inside the monastery include the Panagia Portaitissa, dated back to the 15th century, a work of the school of Cretan, also known as Theotokio or the Mother of God, and the Gennadio's Prayer, dating back to 1619. Though filled with numerous similar artifacts, the true beauty of this historical masterpiece lies in its architecture and history, making it a must visit for every traveler.

Although the view from the mismatched windows, lining the face of the monastery, is guaranteed to take your breath away, it is, in fact, the view from the top-most balcony that leaves a lasting impression on your mind. With a secluded beach right below the monastery and the endless Aegean Sea beyond, the feeling is just unique and hard to explain. The divinity of this place is evident from the moment you set foot on this holy ground.

The beach below the monastery boasts of the most brilliant blue waters humans could have laid eyes upon. It is just a 40-minute walk down from the monastery, but can also be reached by either boat or, for the more adventurous, a long swim from the Agia Anna beach. Agia Anna, on the contrary, is one of the best, most accessible beaches on Amorgos. Tourists flock to this beach for its brilliant location and of course, the Hozoviotissa Monastery.

One of the more popular monuments, a visit to Greece would be considered incomplete without a visit to the spiritual haven that is the Hozoviotissa Monastery. Paved roads from Yialos bring tourists of all kinds, those interested in historical artifacts, in ancient architecture, in spirituality, or just simple vacationers.

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