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Holy Monastery of the Great Cave

The Monastery of the Virgin Mary of the Great Cave is located in the mountainous Kalavrita within 10 kilometres from the town of Kalavrita. The ground format is what gave the Monastery its name, with a huge rock standing as a vigil guard while in the bottom spreads the valley of Vouraikos.

It is built at a height of 924 metres, in the cave of the root of a huge rock, depth of 30 metres, 60 metres in height and width of 60 metres.
The position of the monastery is an excellent advantage to anyone who conspire against, resulting in non-conquest by foreigners during the entire history.
The monastery has over eighty cells divided into floors, with Monastery of the Virgin Mary being on the third floor, painted by the priest M. Andronicus.

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On the left side of monastery, there is a path leading to another level, where the chapel of Saint Euphrosyne is built. Near this chapel are built three consecutive chapels: St Catherine's, St. Luke the Stiriotis's and the Holy Archangels's, and at a level higher than that there is another chapel of the three Archangels. Above the monastery, on top of the cliff where there are two towers for defence, are the chapels of the Ascension and Apostle Luke.

Openinng hours: All day except 13.00-14.00 at summer
Tel.: 26920.22.401, 26920.23.130
Fax: 26920.23.035

According to tradition the monastery was founded in 362 AD by the monks Symeon and Theodore at the place where the picture of the Virgin Mary was found by a female-shepherd at the depth of the cave where the source is. The image is modelled in wax and mastic by St. Luke.
The monastery has been destroyed by fire four times, in 840, in 1400, in 1640 and in 1934 but always the Holy picture was preserved in an admirable way.
The service and the general contribution of the Great Cave during the Greek revolution against Turkish rule, played an important role and is one of the most brilliant pages of the history of the monastery.


Picture of Virgin Maria
The picture is embossed, three cm thick, and represents the Virgin Mary with her head tilted slightly to the left and the right hand holding the divine infant. Jesus with his left hand holds the Virgin Mary, while his right hand holds the Gospel.
The dresses were decorated with gold but the disastrous fire in 1640, which hit the monastery, distorted the colour and the gold of the dresses and darkened the face of Virgin Mary.
Besides the image there are the Archangels, and in the four corners there are the Seraphims and the Cherubims. The background image is full of bas-relief (and lighter) decorations. These are the original image on which occasionally added other elements such as metal cladding, the halos, etc.

In the Museum of the monastery there are many holy and national treasures: national costumes, manuscripts with excellent miniatures, precious gold crosses with holy wood, engraving bronze pictures, portraits, etc. In a special chapel there are many pictures, reliquaries with bones of many Saints and with the skeleton-heads of the founders of the monastery.

The monastery celebrates in the mid-August in memory of the Ascension.

In the Monastery is worth seeing the "Trypio Lithari" aperture through which sunlight passes only in the two Equinoxes. You can see also the rocky area named "Kisoti" from which the German occupying forces in 1943 threw the fathers of the Monastery and many pilgrims, and the tower - a fortress at the top of the cliff of the Great Cave.

Accommodation
For your stay in Achaia, you can book a room in one of the hotels and Bed & Breakfast inns.
In the town of Kalavryta as well as in many other areas of the state of Achaias, there are hotels and accommodations of various categories and types (rooms to let, residences, Bed & Breakfast inns, studios, hostels, guesthouses and furnished apartments) that can satisfy every visitor's demands and needs for a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
You will find wonderful hotels, rooms and apartments to let of all categories and price ranges.

Access
Access to several regions of Achaia is quick and easy.
The best way to explore Achaia is to have your own car and visit places that public transport can not reach.

For your convenience, you can use the route map on the field “Routes” with information about the mileage, the time you need and the route you will follow, selecting the points of interest.

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