The Intrepid Explorers Search For The Church In A Cave
Some of you may be wondering who the Intrepid Explorers are? And who are they indeed? Are they some sort of super group of adventurers taking on dangerous missions for the government? Or maybe they are top secret explorers searching for untold stories?
Unfortunately, as exciting as they sound, the Intrepid Explorers are just a motley crew of people who enjoy one another’s company and love nothing more than getting together when we can, for a challenging hike. We are the Intrepids!
Okay, enough of the rubbish…
A small group of us set out to find the ancient church of St. Nicolas, which is situated in the mini-mountains above Machairado, on the Greek island of Zakynthos. This was no ordinary, straightforward mission. You see, the church of St Nicolas isn’t an ordinary church, it is, in fact, a church in a cave… How exciting does that sound?…
The weather was miserable, so bad that we had to sit the cars waiting for the rain to stop before deciding to take our chances anyway and go for it. It wasn’t the first attempt at finding this church, we have tried a couple of times before, with no luck.
This time we (not me personally as my internal compass does not work) had a vague idea which direction to head in and as luck would have it, it proved to be the right direction.
Enough of the verbal ramblings and on with the photos. Be warned there are plenty…
The Hunt For The Church In A Cave
The village of Machairado from above. My husband warned us that the climb was steep and he wasn’t joking!
The Intrepid Explorers sussing out the mission.
Big game hunters?… Or maybe someone has left a warning for the Intrepids?
Don’t let this short downhill fool you.
Looking across Zakynthos.
You can just about see the sea on both sides of the island in this photo.
The monastery looked a little like it was made out of Lego from up above.
Even Intrepid Explorers have to take a breather sometimes.
And the fun starts…
Luckily the views make up for the steep climb.
One last climb and we have found the ancient Church of St. Nicolas and it is in a cave.
At Last, We Found The Ancient Church Of St. Nicolas; The Church In A Cave!
We could find no information about this old church in a cave, so have no idea how old any of the murals are. We couldn’t actually get into the church as it was hidden behind a shed-like building, but I did manage to hang through a gap at the top of the wall.
Our guess was that the cave was at some point deeper and over the years parts of it had fallen away, and the ‘shed’ was put up to protect the murals from the elements.
Luckily I could hang through the gap in the wall enough to get some photographs of the murals in the church in the cave.
I thought the flash on the camera may give the paintings a washed out look, but they didn’t turn out too bad.
The altar and icons look more modern, leading us to believe that maybe that was where the original altar was, but it has collapsed with the outer wall of the cave.
Mission Completed, We Head Back Down
The mission was not quite over yet, we still had to find somewhere to stop for lunch.
We decided that another church looked a perfect place for a picnic. The hills around Machairado seem to be dotted with churches. We must have come across at least five during our mission.
We have no idea what this huge cross is commemorating. And neither does anyone else we asked.
There is always time for a little silliness on our hikes.
Jack, the oldest member of the group.
With the mission complete and with lunch eaten, it was time to head back down. Of course, it decided to rain again.
On the way down, we came across this pretty mini waterfall cutting through the mountainside.
It really was a very pretty place. I wish you could hear the chirping of the birds.
Back In The Village Of Machairado
Heading back to the cars parked in the village of Machairado, we came across this really old church. Dating back to 1453.
The church was clearly not safe to enter.
The main part of the church was being held together by a metal brace. I can imagine if it weren’t it would go down in the slightest earth tremor.
The memorial at the front of the church dates it back to May 1453 and the inscription read something along the lines of; Again, after years and times gone by, they will be ours again… Which is apparently in reference to the church having been taken over by the Turkish for a number of years before the Greeks were able to take it back.
Looking back to where we climbed.
I really enjoy sharing our adventures with you. I hope you enjoy it just as much.
This post was inspired by the Through My Lens link up, hosted by Mersad.
© 2017, Debbie. All rights reserved.