The old Filosofou Monastery is the most historic and oldest monastery in Arcadia (10th century) and one of the oldest Byzantine monuments in Greece. According to tradition, it was founded in 963 by Ioannis Lampardopoulos, the so-called "philosopher", secretary of the emperor Nikephoros Phokas. The Monastery got its name from this name of the founder.
The old Monastery is located in a wild and majestic ravine and 200 meters above the bed of the Lousios river, in the hollow of a high and steep rock. It extends into a narrow and elongated cavity. It is preserved intact and is a wonderful example of Byzantine architecture of the 10th century with remarkable frescoes. It is built with simple stone construction and in its external appearance it creates the impression of a solid architectural building without much grace. Today, the Byzantine church (Catholic), a real architectural masterpiece, is preserved in this place. It is a four-pillar cruciform temple inscribed with an eight-sided dome. The temple was decorated with frescoes of exceptional art, of which only fragments survive today. There are also ruins of cells and other buildings, the outer protective wall - built after the Fall of Constantinople - ruins of two turrets above the monastery on the rock, a water pipe that supplied the monastery with water from a spring, and a cistern.
The monastery is known as the "Hidden School", because according to tradition, a school operated there during the years of the Turkish occupation, which later developed - in Nea Moni - into an important priestly school. The Monastery flourished in the 17th century. A period during which the New Monastery was also built, but without abandoning the old one.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou