Zygou Monastery

Zygou Monastery Ouranoupoli Halkidiki Greece

It is an old Athonite monastery that was founded in the early 10th century and was destroyed just before 1198. It is located approximately 2km east of Ouranoupoli, just outside the limits of Mount Athos.

It is an old Athonite monastery that was founded in the early 10th century and was destroyed just before 1198. It is located approximately 2km east of Ouranoupoli, just outside the limits of Mount Athos. It seems to be one of the oldest monastic institutions on the Athonite peninsula and was discovered in 1984. In the excavation site visitors will admire the castle, the towers and mainly the Catholicon of the monastery which is being excavated.

The first report of the name Zygou is made in a 942 document. The first accurate report about its existence was in 992, when it was already an important monastic center with a significant part in the operation of the Athonite state. It seems that the building complex found by the excavations, was built in a century. It is a five-side castle, fortified by ten or eleven towers.

The monastery was abandoned in the late 12th century for unknown reasons and it was granted by a Golden Bull, together with its dependencies, to the reestablished Hilandariou monastery. In around 1206, a Frank lord seems to have settled in the monastery. That is why the remains of the monastery were known and are often referred to –in maps also- as Fragokastro.

There are marble additions of excellent craftsmanship preserved in good condition on the floors of the Catholicon and the northern chapel, probably work of the 11th century. The most important movable findings are the marble decoration and the marble added, mosaic floors, which are a feature of byzantine architecture.