Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Karyas

Agios Nikolaos Karyas, the monastic heart of Kynouria, in the province’s very centre, is a typical fortified Post-Byzantine Peloponnesian monastery. It is located 2-3 kilometres beyond the Artokosta Monastery, on the road to Prastos, 879 metres above sea level, between two heights, the medieval castles of Oriontas and Paliochora.

The names Prasies, Brasies, Prasioi Topoi, Oreioi, Tyros, Apollo Tyrites, all ancient epithets and modern toponyms related to Baskina and Paliochora, provide evidence for the existence of ancient Lakonian cities and their connection to the medieval historical reality. Now located on the coast, Tyros was originally a thriving settlement, the closest to the Karya monastery, opposite Paliochora. Among the old churches preserved at old Tyros is a dependency of the Karya monastery. Within the monastery, the current church of Saint Nicholas was built over an earlier church, of which parts of walls with traces of wall paintings are preserved.

Below Karakovouni is the monastery’s cemetery and its church of the Dormition of the Virgin. The church, which was probably reconstructed in recent times, is identified as the katholikon (main church) of the now defunct mid-eighteenth-century monastery of Karakovouni. It is a relatively large church of the cross-in-square type, with an octagonal dome, a three-sided apse, and a belfry. The roofing is old, combining schist plaques and ceramic tiles.