On a green hill above the beach of Paleokastritsa, on the north western side of Corfu, there is a large Monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary (Panagia in Greek). This monastery dominates the whole region and it offers a breathtaking view of the island and the sea below. The Paleokastritsa Monastery is believed to have been founded in the early 13th century and together with the Achillion Palace is amongst the best - known places of Corfu. According to local legend it was built in 1228, however unfortunately today little remains of the original buildings.
From an architectural point of view the monastery is definitely worth a visit as it is a classic example of Greek monastic architecture. In the Monastery you will find a small museum with Byzantine and Post Byzantine icons (the most notably icon is the beautiful Dormition of the Virgin Mary) silver bound bibles and other religious items of the Greek Orthdox ritual. You will also find a prehistoric skeleton of the so called “sea monster” which is said to be killed by fisherman in the last century. The complex courtyards, archways (decorated with beautiful flowers), monks cells, oil presses and the store rooms, are the real beauty of the monastery. Within one of the original monks' cells a shop has been established that sells religious artifacts, hand-made crafts, small bottles of olive oil pressed by the monks and other memorabilia. A small olive press can also be found within the grounds of the monastery.
Although it is considered a historical site, it is still a working monastery, and it plays an important role in the life of the locals. While in the monastery you are advised to respect the dress code. Women should have their shoulders and their legs covered. In addition to this, please aware that flash photography is not welcomed as it can fade the colours of the art work.
Outside the monastery walls there are several footpaths which are worth exploring for the wonderful seascapes that can be seen. You will also have the opportunity to admire the stunning views of Angelokastro and the village of Lakones. More information at the official website: http://www.panagiapaleokastritsa.com/