In a green gorge, in a secluded but beautiful landscape lies a monastery very different from the others. Different on the one hand because of its location, and on the other hand, because of its history and the tradition that follows it. The reason for the Monastery of Askitis ("Ascetic" in Greek), is dedicated to the Deposit of the Holy Belt of the Virgin Mary and is located in the Peloponnese.
The images below speak for themselves and you can understand why this monastery stands out not only in the Peloponnese but throughout Greece. In a green gorge, between two rocks is "wedged" this cavernous monastery, the like of which may not exist in the whole world. The Peloponnese has many monasteries and this is one of the most impressive.
Ilia: The eerie Monastery of Ascetic inside the cave
The otherworldly monastery of Askitis has its own very interesting history. It was actually named after an ascetic monk who lived in the area. Tradition says that the monk lived in the so-called gorge of Goumero. At some point, therefore, a hunter and his friends were passing through the area. While hunting, he mistook him for a wild boar, shot and fatally wounded him.
Later, walking to leave the spot, it is said that they found an icon of the Virgin Mary holding an infant. So they decided to build the small monastery in the gap created by the two caves which are connected in a strange way. There are even reports that the monk was buried there, inside the monastery.
If you ever find yourself in Ilia and at the point where the Monastery of the Ascetic is located, you will notice that it is divided into two parts. In the first part, you will actually see the sanctuary of the Monastery as well as a kind of corridor-balcony and a well. Tradition also mentions that the spot where the body of the ascetic monk fell dead gushed water. That was the reason they built the well. The second part of the monastery is practically what remains of the ruins of the Byzantine monastery, dating back to around 1200 AD.
The monastery for many years hosted dozens of monks but for more than 50 years it has been abandoned. The distance from Pyrgos of Ilia is about 30 km and you will drive about 45 minutes to get there. You can see exactly where it is by clicking HERE.