Situated on the island of Mykonos, Greece, the Monastery of Panayia Tourliani is one of the most important religious sites in the Mediterranean. Founded in 1500 AD, the monastery is of great historical and religious significance to the local community and is an attraction that continues to fascinate visitors to this day.
Built on the site where Zeus turned Circe into an enchanted mountain, the monastery has undergone many changes over the years. Though construction on the existing main building began in the 16th century, subsequent renovations over the intervening centuries have given the monastery its current classically beautiful form.
The main building is of traditional Cycladic style and contains an impressive array of old murals painted by local monks. To the left of the entrance is the chapel of Panayia Tourliani where visitors may reverently observe the church’s ornately decorated walls and iconography. The adjoining monastery courtyard is a tranquil place in which to take a break from the pace of the outside world, whilst admiring the lush green gardens and breathtaking vistas of the countryside beyond.
It is within the monastery grounds that one may truly marvel at the astonishing skill and craftsmanship of the skilled masons who adorned the monastery with stunning murals, sculptures and frescoes. Examples include the impressive statue of St Nicholas of the Camel, which is thought to date back to 1710, and the wooden carving of the life and death of Saint Lazarus, which has been recognised world over for its unrivaled beauty.
Another beautiful feature of the Monastery of Panayia Tourliani is the picturesque bell tower. As the sun sets in the evening, the bell tower bathes the monastery in a celestial glow and can be heard ringing out across the village.
Not only is the Monastery of Panayia Tourliani a place of spiritual contemplation but also a historical masterpiece. Located between two traditional settlements and surrounded by the striking beauty of the Greek Isles, the monastery is an absolute must-see for travellers wishing to experience the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean. The Monastery of Panayia Tourliani offers a brief glimpse into the past and is a prime example of religious devotion and beauty that is to be celebrated and admired.