Holy Monastery of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) of Sintza
Another large and old monastery is Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) of Sintza. The church is a cruciform basilica and is built inside cavernous cavities. The monastery is suspended between the earth and the sky. Agios Nikolaos is the patron saint of sailors, he oversees and calms tumultuous waters. The monastery is surrounded by ancient monks’ refuges in the rocks. The establishment of the monastery dates back to the 13th century. The Saint is celebrated on December 6th and also on May 2nd.
The miraculous icon of the Saint depicts his passing away, which is rare in iconography. The main temple of the monastery has icons from as long ago as 1650 and a crafted iconostasis, while the interior of the dome depicts the starlit sky, creating an intense atmosphere of devotion. Finely decorated rare handwritten gospel scripts have been preserved in the monastery’s library. Amongst its treasures there is also a section of a backbone which, according to tradition, belongs to an oversized reptile, the “dragon” which lived in the valley of Leonidion.
A tall fig tree in the cavern according to the myth was considered a sign that there was the sacred temple where the god Dionysos was raised. According to the tradition, this monastery took its name after the Tsakonian word for fig tree=“sintza”.
Archaeological research has proven that the famous cave of Dionysus was inhabited during the Neolithic period. Tools and human bones have been found there. This cave served as shelter for those following the strictest hermitic lifestyle and as a refuge in times of war.
Distance (Starting Point – Plaka) : 10 KM
Trip Duration (Average Speed) : 20 MINUTES