Originally built in 1542 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this monastery was our next stop. It has impressive architecture, whitewashed exterior and colored dome which have long charmed visitors from around the world. As we walked from our motor-coach, we could only see the bell tower rising to the sky. Even when we got closer, the bell tower and arches above the entrance still dominated the scene.
Inside the Monastery
Making our way inside the monastery church, we light a small candle, getting the flame from one that was already burning. This gesture is a way of presenting your petitions to God.
The church is only large enough for one or two small groups to enter at a time. The cruise line made special arrangements for us to be able to visit. It is obvious that some restoration is in progress as evidenced by areas that were covered in plastic sheets and blocked by wooden barriers. Consequently it was more difficult to navigate through the small church, necessitating a horseshoe shaped traffic flow in one direction. Perhaps that was actually a blessing as it controlled our movements, making sure that the exquisite artwork was not overlooked.
In the interior of the church, we can see an impressive wooden iconostasis (altar screen) made in 1775 by Florentine artists. The screen is decorated with green, red and golden flowers.
There are icons of apostles and saints on the iconostasis as well as scenes from the New Testament. The hanging incense holders are decorated with silver dragons having red eggs in their mouth, which show the Eastern influence.
Once again, words cannot adequately describe the beauty before us in this tiny little church within the monastery. We have shared several of our images on our Facebook Fan Page in the Panagia Tourliani Monastery Album.
Following our visit to the church, we continued our tour of the exterior grounds of the monastery, ending up in the town square where shops and busy cafes were found.
We walked through the farmer's market en route to the motor-coach. The small parking area was completely filled this Sunday morning with cars and motor-coaches. In fact, several motor-coaches were lined up in a row. Traffic was coming from all directions and the drivers of the cars didn't want to wait for us to get out of their way and tried to figure out how to get around us. Our driver certainly earned his wages navigating through this very crowded parking area. We all cheered for the driver when he was out of the snarled traffic.
We will continue our virtual Mykonos journey in another post. Until then, visit our Facebook page to look at some of the pictures of our Mediterranean adventure thus far.