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The Monastery of Vyliza in Matsouki

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The Monastery of the Annunciation of Vyliza in Matsouki touches on the Albanian Language (e.g. Vileza). The Monastery is built in a prominent position, within a fortress and on a slope of the Kritharia Mountain. It also stands over an area where three streams of the Arachtos River meet. The northeastern side reveals traces of ancient remains which were possibly ancient walls. The surviving buildings of the Monastery may have been built over an earlier foundation but from an archaeological perspective this is still inconclusive. Its buildings could have been established at any point between the last quarter of the 17th century up to the year 1783 when the Church was renovated, as evidenced by the engraved inscription found in the central shallow recess beneath an embossed bow located on the outside arch of the Church’s sanctuary.

Furthermore, the Monastery’s murals were created during various time periods in the 18th century. The narthex was built in the early 18th century, the Church in 1793 and the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist was created in 1737. Judging from the Monastery’s surviving religious artifacts (e.g. icons, manuscripts, the altar piece in the 17th century Chapel of Saint John the Baptist, the 1695 lectern), the majority of the archaeological material dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The settlement of Matsouki would witness significant economic development throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries and then gradually decline during the 18th century. As for the settlement of Kalarrytes it would experience gradual growth throughout the 18th century. Nonetheless, in both settlements, the architectural and pictorial evidence that exist in the Monastery of Vyliza are directly associated with the region’s economic development. This was especially evident in the settlement of Kalarrytes when the population’s main work activities shifted from farming to craft making and trade, while the Matsouki settlement at the time (mid- 18th century) was in decline.

See also the Monastery’s murals located in the Narthex and Church and the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist.