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monastery nemea

The monastery “Our Lady of the Rocks” is located on the east side of the rock called Polyfeggos, in the mountain of Panagia (Our Lady). The monastery is located only one kilometer away from the town on Nemea. The ruins of a medieval settlement are on the south part of the rock. The relics of the settlement indicate that the houses were detached. On the foothill of the rock there is a water reservoir, probably for the water supply of the settlement. On the top of Polyfeggos, there are ruins of a huge wall with loopholes. It consisted of the small fortress of Polyfeggos that once controlled the narrow entrance towards Nemea. It is mentioned in the list of fortresses of the Principality of Moreas, 1377, as “Santo Georgio de Polifengno”, while in texts that date back to the Turkish rule, it is referred to as Saint George, the then name of Nemea.

At the same area, in the rock, lie the remains of the old church of Our Lady of the Rocks. It probably consists of the katholikon of the old monastery that covers one fourth of the length of the cave.
The late byzantine monastery of Our Lady of the Rock was built after the destruction of the settlement of Polyfeggos and it is hewn on the east side of the monolithic rock. The date of foundation is unknown because the archives were burnt in a fire put by Turkish Albanians in 1770. Only the icons on the screen altar remained intact, along with some liturgical vessels and the brass circular seal of the monastery. The seal depicts Our Lady holding infant Jesus and contains the inscription “Monastery of Our Lady Polyfeggos of the Rock, 1633”. The monastery is also documented in Venetian documents that date back to 1698.

The monastery of Our Lady of the Rock was at its peak since the beginning of the 19th century until the period of Kapodistrias. During the Greek War of Independency it contributed a lot to the cause.

The mural painting over the bema is of great interest. It depicts Jesus Christ and on the four corners, instead of the depictions of the four Evangelists, as usual, there are paintings of animal of the apocalypses.


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