When you are walking around the historic Upper Town and the Trigoniou Tower (check out the Trigoniou Tower article), among them there’s another spot that you should not skip: the charming Vlatadon Monastery. This is the only Byzantine monastery that has worked incessantly until today and dates back to the 14th century. It belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul and is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was founded somewhere between 1351 to 1371 AD by the empress Anna Palaiologina while it was named after two monks, Dorotheos and Markos Vlattis two of Saint Gregory Palamas (Archibishop of Thessaloniki) closest friends.
Apart from the Christian tradition, Byzantine scripts and other documents dated back to 14th century AD also refer to it as the “Monastery of Pantokratoros” or “Vlateon Monastery”. The earliest available source is a letter written by Patriarch Mathew of Constantinople in 1400 AD to the Metropolis of Thessaloniki.
Besides the very interesting history of the monastery, for me it is a place to relax and admire the view of the whole city. The monastery is located at an altitude of approximately 120 meters and during the day, when the atmosphere is clear, you can even see Mt. Olympus. You should visit the monastery on a sunny day but even better is to try to visit it on a wonderful afternoon and enjoy the unique sunset. It is certainly one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll see! Out of the original temple only a few architectural elements are being preserved until today, Including curved arches, pediments and semi-columns. The Katholikon of the monastery, the building of the main temple also had numerous modifications and additions throughout the centuries.
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