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Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Imerovigli

The Agios Nikolaos Monastery in Imerovigli on Santorini is one of the most picturesque buildings on the island and a popular tourist destination. It is a great place to take souvenir photographs. The monastery is named after St Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), St Panteleimon (Agios Panteleimon), and Our Lady of the Life-Giving Spring (Zoodoxos Pighi – Greek for “life-giving spring”).

History and location

The Monastery of Saint Nicholas on Santorini was founded on December 6, 1651. Its first members belonged to the Gyzi family, an Orthodox family whose seat was the castle of Skaros. The Gyzi family decided to dedicate one of the chapels belonging to them to the monastery and it functioned in this form until 1815. A year later the nuns founded a new monastery. Its construction was completed in 1820.

It is located between the villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani with breathtaking sea views. Part of the monastery was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Santorini in 1956. At that time, many other buildings on the island were also affected, and only some of them have been rebuilt. In case of the monastery, one of the chapels suffered the most, which has been partially restored to its former glory.


The convent has a rectangular horseshoe shape. It contains 32 cells for the nuns and common rooms, which are currently used as a museum (visiting possible by arrangement with the nuns). Inside the convent there is a square courtyard.

The monastery visually resembles other religious buildings of this period built on Santorini. The façade is white in colour, which reflects the sunlight very well. The roof of the monastery is decorated with a blue dome with a small bell tower. This element is very characteristic of Greek religious buildings in the Cyclades. The gate to the monastery is decorated with a cross and an image of a saint. The monastery is an excellent example of classical Greek sacred architecture.

What is worth paying attention to?

Some of the rooms of the monastery have been converted into museums and are open to visitors (visitation to be arranged with the nuns). It contains exhibits related to the culture and history of the island of Santorini and icons from the Byzantine era. Among them is the famous icon of Agios Nikolaos and the wooden iconostasis of the catholikon.

The area around the monastery offers an incredible view of the entire Santorini caldera.

The solemn indulgence in this church takes place every year on 6 December (Saint Nicholas Day).

Gallery of Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Imerovigli

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