Thursday, September 20, 2012

Portaria with Angela

Our good friend Angela and her son, Alexander, as well as her daughter, Myrina, were our latest guests down in Portaria. They came to help us out for a few days earlier this month as we try to entertain the kids and fix up the house. One day, we all took the kids for walk while Pelagia painted. In the photo above, we walked up one of Portaria's many cobblestone paths. This one has water running down a channel on the right side of the photo. In the background, you can see the road to Zagora passing overhead. Just past that bridge, the church of St. Nicholas is on the left.

Next to St. Nicholas is the Church of the Panagia Portarea, from which the town of Portaria got its name. This church was built some time before 1273, when we have the first written evidence, as the central church (katholikon) of a monastery dedicated to Panagia "Portarea," which probably meant the icon of the Panagia which guards the pass, i.e. the pass in the mountain. The village later came to be built around this monastery and took its name from it. Most of the beautiful iconography dates to the late 1500s. Above is a photo of the north wall.

Here's Paul coming in the tiny door along the south wall. The door is just his size.

The mural on the west wall above the entrance.

A photo of the front of the church, with Alexander and Angela. The iconography on the outside is amazingly well-preserved considering it has no protection.

Our group then headed over to the neighboring village of Makrynitsa, where the kids got some ice cream. In the photo above, you can see Paul eating his, with Portaria framed in the background.

Here's Paul still eating his ice cream as he walks down one of Makrynitsa's cobblestone paths lined with shops.

Here, we found a small playground for the kids. Portaria is again in the background, to the left.

Feeling adventurous, we decided to hike up Makrynitsa all the way to the top, where the Monastery of St. Gerasimos lies. The kids were great, and we finally made it all the way to the top, where the nuns greeted us. There, we venerated the skull of the local saint St. Gerasimos the New, whose feast day was September 15.

For more photos, click here.

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