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Moni Osios Loukas/Greece

Introducing Moni Osios Loukas

The World Heritage–listed monastery Moni Osios Loukas is 23km southeast of Arahova, between the villages of Distomo and Kyriaki. Its principal church contains some of Greece’s finest Byzantine frescoes. Modest dress is required (no shorts).

The monastery is dedicated to a local hermit who was canonised for his healing and prophetic powers. The monastic complex includes two churches. The interior of the larger, Agios Loukas, is a glorious symphony of marble and mosaics with icons by Michael Damaskinos, the 16th-century Cretan painter.

In the main body of the church, the light is partially blocked by the ornate marble window decorations, creating striking contrasts of light and shade. Walk around the corner to find several fine frescoes that brighten up the crypt where St Luke is buried.

Nearby, is the smaller 10th-century Agia Panagia (Church of the Virgin Mary).

To get here from Delphi, you can take the Livadia/Athens bus as far as the Distomo crossing (€2.10, 35 minutes, five daily), then walk or hitch the 2km to Distomo. Alternatively, taxis will get you to the monastery from Distomo (€20 return), Livadia (€30 return) or Delphi (€40 return); for an extra charge, the taxi will wait an hour at the monastery. Coming from Livadia, one daily bus heads to Moni Osios Loukas (€3.50, 30 minutes).