It was high noon when we decided to go for a photo trip with a friend of mine around the region. Clouds were present and we feared for rainfall, but there was something pushing us to make that trip anyway. Finally we decided to go a little further this time and we drove about an hour north to Arcadia region having occasionally drops of rain in the way and hoping that the weather would allow us to see and photograph the beautiful surroundings near Lucius river. At first, we arrived at the place where Ancient Gortys was located with some ruins of exposed ancient structures lying among green wet grass. It had just rained and the rocks were all shining around, but we knew that we had to walk by the river to truly admire it's beauty.
We arrived at a printed map on a wooden placement and we realized that there was the monastery of Aghios Ioannis Prodromos nearby. As I previously has seen on photographs, the monastery was built inside Lucius Gorge under a rocky edge of a cliff, so we agreed not to continue our route from there, but to go by car to the monastery and explore the whereabouts nearby.
On the left bank of Lucius river, at the base of a tall and wild rock and almost opposite the Philosopher's Monastery the historic monastery of John the Baptist dominated the gorge. Built in the 16th century it is today the largest historic monastery in the Peloponnese . It is a male monastery and has more monks than the other monasteries of Arcadia. According to tradition, the foundation dates back to the mid 12th century ( 1167 ) .
The Cathedral is built in the cavity of a rock, it is shaped as a domed basilica and there are frescoes outside, that despite the damage, are fairly substantial and dating back to the 16th century. The monastery has a remarkable library with important theological and philosophical books. In the monastery's Arhondariki there are old photographs and personal letters of Kolokotronis.
The location offers panoramic view of the canyon and Ancient Gortys. The monastery can be accessed from Stemnitsa, Dimitsana through Palaiochori, from Elliniko and trails through the canyon. There are guesthouses inside where visitors can stay overnight if they need to. From Prodromou monastery there are paths going down to Lucius gorge, reaching the river. Across the river there is a path to Philosophou Monastery among lush vegetation. Another longer route leads through conserved pathways in Ancient Gortys, a route of about three hours.
|Monastery of Prodromos|
|Path through vast vegetation|
We arrived at the Philosophou Monastery and found the ruins of old buildings next to the cliffs. There were cavities on the rocks that were used to collect rain water and a small rocky "pool" where it was finally poured. Weather didn't change much all this time in the gorge making the green mossy trails seem like they had escaped from a fairy tale. A Polarizing filter on my lens made every colored wet surface to shine and glimmer through the dark contrasted soil, but I needed to handheld all my shots at the expense of high noise (max ISO 3200 @ f8). My camera handled high ISO very well and the photos it produced were beautiful, images I had never seen before in a place I always wanted to photograph and visit. Being in such a beautiful place made me realize how lucky I was to have visited it well prepared and with good wet weather.
This is one of the few adventures that will stay with me forever and I plan to print some large sized copies for myself to hang in my living room. If you need one too, don't hesitate to send me an email with your contact details. I will post sizes and prices as soon as I get them from my retailer.
|Philosophou monastery ruins|