The monastery of Malevi

The monastery of Malevi in the cedar forest
The monastery of Malevi is one of the well-known in Arcadia which attracts a large number of pilgrims and visitors and it is 30 km from Paralio Astros and 44 km from Tripoli. It is built on the slopes of the mountain Parnonas on altitude of 950m. It is surrounded by a rare and protected forest of cedar in Europe.
The holy temple
The first monastery was built in the 14th century. The first recording of the monastery takes place in 1320 on a Byzantine letter of Andronikos Palaiologos. The monastery then was a bit farther from what it is today. The monastery which is in the actual place today was built in 1616 and it was of great contribution to the fight during the Greek revolution. About 1600 Saint Neilos had been in the monastery, widely known as Nikolaos Terzakis with his uncle Makarios before they left to Agion Oros.
Before the Greek revolution the monastery provided shelter to the armed revolutioners. Among them there was captain Zaharias Varvitsiotis. In 1786 before Easter in a theft attempt against the Turk Ali Sultabasi, the Turks decided to destroy the monastery. Their first attack was tackled by Zaharias's men and it cost them a lot of casualties. Some time later, the Turks tried again with the help of the dignitary Koutsopappa, from Agios Petros (the nearby village), attacked again and finding it without any defence, they destroyed it. In November 1786 Zaharias arrested Koutsopappa (Zaharias was Koutsopappas's servant 5 years ago) but he released him after made him pay 1,500 grosses.
From 1802 to 1805 the monastery was reconstructed with labours and expenses from the residents from the area. During the Greek revolution it was used as a hospital and military camp. In 1825 it was partly destroyed by the army of Ibrahem but they found resistance. 
The church contains the Holy picture of Virgin Mary, which is considered a piece of work from 1360. It is considered miraculous and crowds of pilgrims come to see it. 
The new temple has been built in the surroundings of the monastery which is dedicated to Virgin Mary. Next to the monastery there is the small church of Saint Neilos.
The monastery complex contains a newly-built ward with guest houses and utility rooms. 


Platanos, a picturesque village near Paralio Astros

Small waterfall at the entrance of the village
Ιn a lush ravine on 440 metres altitude, you will find hidden the picturesque village of Platanos. Located 25 km away from Paralio Astros on the road to Agiannis, Platanos has been declared a traditional settlement and the visitors realise very soon why!
The first written historical record of Platanos appears in 1467 and according to other reports, the residents are descendants of ancient Aegina.
The walks in the village streets will surprise you pleasantly as you will see stone houses, the old mill and the old stone fountain. You will also find the Tower of Mira, a special tower with angular shape, which was built for defensive purposes. At the entrance of the village there are running waters that form a waterfall and gives a feeling of freshness to the visitor, especially in summer. 
In the centre of the village there is the church of St. Anne and two post-Byzantine churches of St. George and St. Theodore with frescoes.
The springs, the waterfalls and the lush vegetation of the village make it really special. There is a great variety of trees such as chestnuts, cherry trees, walnut trees, vines trees and other. Southeast of the village there is the gorge of Spilakia, with the cave of Christ where the residents found refuge against the army of Ibrahem.
During the summer the village attracts many visitors and ​​many events and festivals are organised such as the celebration of cherry and chestnut later in October. In August there are the celebrations of the Waters, the Moon and Love with various events that have been established.
The locals are very hospitable and always willing to help and show the visitors around. It is a lovely place where you can start your explorations on the tracks of Parnona. Also in the few taverns you can taste traditional delicacies or enjoy your coffee and home-made sweets in the cafe or at the guesthouse of the village.


Μονή Παλαιοπαναγιάς

Η είσοδος της Ιεράς Μονής
Στις πρώτες στροφές του δρόμου Άστρους - Αγιάννη - Παναγίας Μαλεβής - Αγ. Πέτρου, 11 χλμ περίπου από το Παράλιο Άστρος, βρίσκεται φωλιασμένο στο ρέμα το μοναστήρι της Παλαιοπαναγιάς, αφιερωμένο στην Παναγία (στην Αγία Ελεούσα).  
Η πρώτη ιστορική μνεία της μονής γίνεται το 1612 ενώ άλλοι αναφέρουν ότι χτίστηκε το 1310. Το μοναστήρι είχε εγκαταλειφθεί πριν την επανάσταση, μεταξύ 1770-1778 και από το 1799 ο ηγούμενος Νικόδημος αναλαμβάνει την ανακαίνιση του. Η μονή διατηρεί τον αρχικό της χαρακτήρα με λίγες σύγχρονες επεμβάσεις. Το καθολικό είναι σταυρεπίστεγος τετρακιόνιος που έχει κτιστεί εκ θεμελίων το 1814 με την επίβλεψη του Νικόδημου, ο οποίος το 1825 προσθέτει Νάρθηκα. 
Η μονή έχει ανακαινισθεί τα τελευταία χρόνια και προσελκύει πιστούς και φυσιολάτρες λόγω του εξαιρετικού τοπίου και της γαλήνης που βρίσκει ο επισκέπτης. 
Το μοναστήρι διατηρεί σε κοντινή απόσταση μετόχι. Η μονή σήμερα είναι γυναικεία.
Ο ιερός ναός

Η μονή γιορτάζει στις 15 Αυγούστου και την παραμονή τελείται πανηγυρικός εσπερινός. 


Monastery of Elona

The monastery of Elona nestled on the rock
The monastery of Elona is one of the most picturesque and well-known one in Greece. It is located near Leonidio, 66.5 km from Paralio Astros and 107 km from Tripoli in the canyon of Dafnon. It is famous for its location, literally nestled on a vertical and impressive red rock, it excites the visitor giving the impression that it floats in the air. Its position offers magnificent view to the area.
The monastery was founded at the beginning of the 16th century. The story says that some shepards saw a small light on the rock every night. Some people then climbed there and saw the icon of Virgin Mary holding the Holy infant hung on a piece of wood on the rock and a lit candle.
The temple of the monastery was reconstructed on the ruins of the old former temple in 1809. The stone belfry was built in 1831. It is believed that the icon of Virgin Mary of Elona which is kept there, was painted by the apostole Lukas (one of the 70 icons he painted). It is considered miraculous by the pilgrims and it is entirely made by silver. In the temple there are holy relics and heirlooms, euagellies, a lot of dedications and a nice wooden carved partition. It is not known when it was madeand it is characterised by very subtle work and imagination. On its parapets there are carved illustrations. Around the temple there are well-built buildings.
During the turkish occupation the monastery was plundered and burnt many times but it was of remarkable decay from 1798 to 1811. Late it was also under blooming with the contribution of the locals and of the residents of Spetses and Hydra especially after 1875 and 1900. It also had an important role during the Greek revolution in 1821.
The monastery celebrates on the 15th of August and on the novena of Virgin Mary. A lot of pilgrims flee from whole Greece and especially from Peloponnese. It has been a female monastery since 1972.