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Monastery Eikonistira

North of Troulos on the same road and near the Skiathos Dog Sanctuary you will come across the Monastery Panagia Eikonistria (Konistra). This small, understated, but important monastery is hidden back in a small access road on the right hand side of the road, and very easy to miss. Little is said about Panagia Eikonistria with most of the focus for visitors being on the larger holy monastery of Annunciation ' Monastery of Evangelistria'.

Monastery Panagia Eikonistria, was built around the mid 17th century, according to legend, a monk or religious hermit living in the mountains of Skiathos, saw a strange light in the woods, approaching the light he found the icon of the virgin Mary surrounded by a bright light swinging in the branches of a pine tree. Unable to retrieve the icon from the tree himself he traveled to the Kastro to get help. Citizens arrived from the Kastro and the icon was retrieved by a priest Ιωάννης Παππάς (John the priest) and taken back to the Kastro. Later a chapel was built to house the icon in the position that it was found, this was enlarged to become a monastery named "Kounistra" (κούνιες), or 'swings'.

Konistira Monastery

Unfortunately Monastery Panagia Eikonistria is not on a bus route, so you can only reach the monastery using private transport, or on foot. Panagia Eikonistria is a little over 12 km west of Skiathos Town, there is a small access road at the entrance to the monastery, which provides unofficial parking for 3-4 vehicles. The Monastery has no entrance fee, and the basic rules apply for ladies visiting the church (covering up etc), but you must bring your own wrap. Visitors are made welcome by the lady who sits at the desk just inside the church, she also doubles as the cleaner for the whole area, tour guide and translator. She speaks very little English however, but will try to answer as many questions as she can. Inside the monastery is quite different to most other churches that you may visit whilst on Skiathos, if you look up at the painted ceiling you will see that it is very black, and at first glance around the chapel it looks like there has been a serious fire, however the soot stained ceiling is caused by the flames of thousands of candles over the years. Many of the religious art works within the church have been damaged but with a little imagination it is possible to see it's true beauty.
Outside the church much of the monastery has remained unchanged for many years, although no longer having any monks in residence.

Konistira Monastery

The ruler at that time King Otto, closed many of the monasteries under an anti-monastic command. The Monastery of Eikonistria was abandoned and it's holy relics including the holy Icon were transferred to another monastery. The icon is now stored in the Holy Trinity church in Skiathos Town.