On a triangular hill way above the town of Poros sits The Virgin of
Atros Monastery. . Located on Mount Atros, at an altitude of 760 meters above sea level stands the island's oldest monastery, the historic
Monastery of the Theotokos of Atros (Theotokas means god's mother). The
first reference to this monastery is contained in a report of the Latin
Archbishoporic of Cephallenia in 1248.
It was built in the 8th century and it is where St Cleme lived. Today you
can still see the Welcome Hall and the Medieval tower.
The Monastery has had an eventful and colourful history. It has been
destroyed 17 times, mostly due to the earthquakes, however it has always
been rebuilt and restored by the monks themselves.
Most recent damage to the monastery was in 1994 when fire broke out.
During the middle ages 127 monks died defending the monastery from the
Saracens. The fortress at the Monastery was built to withstand attacks and
protect the monks and valuables has been classed as the oldest standing
building on Kefalonia. The tower which dates back to the middle ages is
still preserved and the original Monastery was built in the Byzantine era
around the 8th century. Present day only one monk resides.
The Monastery celebrates on 8th September (feast day of the Virgin's
To get to the Monastery you must navigate mostly steep loose surface dirt
track roads, these run for about 5 kms. You will pass small farm like set
ups with goats and chickens.
A 4-wheel drive vehicle is useful for this trip, however we saw lots of
locals in family cars driving in their usual way!. It was a Sunday morning
and a baptism was being held).
The road is to be taken with care as there are no crash barriers which you
may encounter in the UK. Coming back down should also be taken slowly and
breaking done with care. Be patient drive slowly and steadily and enjoy
the surroundings and peace. You will be rewarded with great views when you
reach the top of the mountain.
It takes about 30 minutes to reach the summit from the turn off just
outside of Poros. .While traveling to the Monastery you will have copious
photographic opportunities as you head into the clouds. This trip gives
you fantastic views of Poros and the surrounding area.
For those of you who like a challenging walk this option should be well
planned, taking a good supply of fluids, a hat and sun block with you It
is amazing to think that before the early 1980s there was no track up to
the top, just a footpath going through the dense woodland. Imagine someone
climbing this route up just to live the monastic life seems some what hard
to believe until you realize that this site was once a fortress.
We saw lots of goats going about their daily life.
Once at the location you are free to look around the grounds. You may
enter the buildings, remembering this is a religious place and it's
recommended you dress in the appropriate attire.