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Hiking to Hydra's Monasteries

On Hydra there are eight monasteries, all in the northeastern part of the island -- an impressive number considering the size and population of the island. Hiking from monastery to monastery on the old footpaths, you can explore every detail of this beautiful island and its natural wonders. With major or minor detours along the way, you will be able to visit other attractions, such as the Zourvas Lighthouse northeast of the Convent of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary of Zourva, or Limioniza Beach, shortly after the Monastery of Saint Nicholas. We describe the eight monasteries in more detail below.
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Monasteries of the Prophet Elias and Saint Efpraxia

A very beautiful walking route from the town of Hydra is the climb (to 485 meters altitude) to the Monasteries of the Prophet Elias and Saint Efpraxia, which tower above the city. Nearby (1000 meters south) is the highest peak on the island, the top of Mount Eros, at 590 meters.

Founded in 1813 by the "Kollyvades" fathers, the Monastery of the Prophet Elias (Profitis Ilias) has a rich library that was organized in 1870 by the then abbot, Ierotheos Kostopoulos. Theodoros Kolokotronis was imprisoned here for four months in 1825.

The distance from the city is about three kilometers and of course quite an uphill climb. We can go either on foot (an hour on a good uphill path through the pines) or by donkey. The path has been renovated and is less tiring (but also longer) than the old one.

The view of the island, the city of Hydra, the Saronic Gulf, the island of Dokos, and the coast of Ermionida are simply wonderful.

About 300 meters before the Monastery of the Prophet Elias, a 150 meter trail on our right leads to the women’s Monastery of Saint Efpraxia, a convent founded in 1821 and famous for the handiwork of its nuns. From the Monastery of Saint (or Agia) Efpraxia, a 200 meter path leads southwest to the Monastery of the Prophet Elias. Alternatively, we can return to where we turned off the main path for a 450 meter route to the Monastery of the Prophet Elias.

Sources

Monastery of the Prophet Elias - Hydra

Monastery of Saint Efpraxia - Hydra

Convent of Agia Fotini & Elisavet

Women’s sanctuary above the the town of Hydra among pine trees and by the Cemetery of Hydra. From the harbor, we ascend on Sachtouri Street to the Stadium of Hydra (about 400 meters). At the stadium, we turn right, cross the bridge, and follow the road to the cemetery. From here the distance to the cemetery and the convent is about another 750 meters.

Monastery of Saint Nicholas

The [Monastery of Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos)][TID:22649] is located about 4 kilometers from the town of Hydra (one hour’s walk) and about 5.2 kilometers from the women’s Monastery or Convent of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary of Zourva (an hour and a half of walking). The path to the Monastery of the Virgin is quite rough. Date of foundation has not been established. Some say 1675, others 1724.

The church is Byzantine style with an octagonal dome. The Holy Monastery flourished during the period after the revolution of 1821 but declined after the war of 1940. Originally, the monastery was for men, but in 1983, when it was restored and renovated, it transformed into a women’s monastery or convent.

From the Monastery of Saint Nicholas, we can descend to the gorgeous secluded beach of Limioniza (1,100 meters) and swim in the crystal waters of the bay--a lovely treat that will compensate us for our grueling walk. Unfortunately, we will pay the price as we return, when we have to climb 250 meters (in altitude) as we walk 700 meters to reach the point where we turned down toward the beach.

If instead of descending to the left toward Limioniza we continue to the road toward the town of Hydra, then in about 1,400 meters from the Monastery of Saint Nicholas we will find the men’s Monastery of the Holy Trinity, which was founded in 1704.

Sources

Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas - Hydra

Monastery of Matrona

Women's retreat or convent (also called a women’s monastery) founded in 1865, 290 meters above the town of Hydra, with an exquisite view of the town and harbor. Accessible via a path that begins at the end of Miaouli Street, where we take a left. (The path to the right leads to the Monastery of the Prophet Elias Profitis Ilias.) The total distance from the the town of Hydra is about 2.6 kilometers.

Descending to the east from the Convent or Monastery of Matrona, in about 1,000 or 1,200 meters we find the men’s Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Agios Triados), which was founded in 1704 and is located on a hill above Mandraki.

Sources

Holy Monastery of Matrona - Hydra

Holy Trinity Monastery

Men’s monastery founded in 1704 and located on a hill above Μανδράκι. Located approximately 1.4 kilometers from the [Monastery of Saint Nicholas] (to the east).

From the [Holy Trinity Monastery][TID:22649] we have three choices:

  1. To head west toward the town of Hydra (about 2,500 meters).
  2. To ascend to the south toward the Convent of Saint Matrona (about 1,000 meters).
  3. To descend to the north toward Mandraki (about 1,700 meters) on a rough path that begins shortly after the Holy Trinity Monastery and runs into the road that comes from the town of Hydra.

Sources

Monastery of the Holy Trinity - Hydra

Holy Monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin - Zourva

The women’s monastery or Convent of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary of Zourva (Genesiou tis Theotokou; 1814) is on the eastern side of the island. It is accessible either by boat (such as sea taxi) from the Bay of Ledeza, followed by 20-30 minutes of uphill walking for 1,100 meters (and a total ascent of 180 meters), or from the town of Hydra via footpaths along the ridge of the island (2.5 hours, total distance of 8,200 meters).

A four kilometer trail begins at the Monastery, heading east. After an hour’s walk, it leads us to the Zourvas Lighthouse at the eastern tip of the island.

If we go west on the road to the town of Hydra (2.5 hours, total distance of 8,200 meters), we encounter first the little Church of the Prophet Elias (3,100 meters, 385 meters altitude), then the [Monastery of Saint Nicholas][TID:22649] (5 kilometers), and finally the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (6.5 kilometers). The journey to the Monastery of Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos) is relatively laborious because the trails are rocky, but the experience is unique. We walk on the ridge of the island, and it's like we're on a huge ship sailing in the Saronic Gulf.

Sources

Holy Monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin - Zourva

Monastery of the Assumption

Historic Monastery and the Cathedral of Hydra. Aisled basilica with a dome and a marble icon screen. The monastery now houses the Town Hall and the Ecclesiastic and Byzantine Museum, with the cenotaph of Kountouriotis in the courtyard.

As well as the links mentioned in the articles and generally the key texts of sources about the Saronic Gulf area of Exploring Greece [TID:22649]: https://www.exploring-greece.gr/en/show/22649 "Monastery of Saint Nicholas " [TID:22649]: https://www.exploring-greece.gr/en/show/22649 "Monastery of Saint Nicholas " [TID:22649]: https://www.exploring-greece.gr/en/show/22649 "Monastery of Saint Nicholas "











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