Photo by Macedon-40
At the hill that is northwest of the city of Elassona, with a panoramic view towards the plain, is one of the most important monastery complexes in Thessaly, the Monastery of Panagia Olympiotissa. It is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin but until the 18th century is also referred to as the monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ. The name Olympiotissa is related to the tradition that the icon of the Virgin Mary that is kept in its interior comes from the abandoned monastery of Karya in Olympus.
Regarding its foundation date there are no ascertained information, but it is general considered to be in the middle of the 13th century. From references to documents it is known that in the first half of the 14th century it was a men’s monastery and a stauropegic one and its founders are considered the sebastokrator Constantine and Theodoros, co-owners of Thessaly in the period 1289-1303. The monastery obtained great property and had a lot of monks, while for centuries it was the intellectual and religious centre of the area, with its heyday was in the 16th and the 18th centuries.
Its catholicon dates from the 14th century but it seems that it existed before and then it was reconstructed inside the castle. It belongs to the architectural type of the one-aisled church with a dome, which is surrounded by a portico. Its masonry is according to the cloisonné system and has incorporated architectural members. Its interior is decorated with wall paintings from the 14th century, which are attributed to a great artist of the Macedonian School.
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