Astypalea Panagia Portaitissa

One of the two main streets of the capital – the southwest one that begins at the Town Hall – leads to the church of Panagia Portaitissa. The architectural type of the church is a rare blend of Aegean and neoclassical elements (influenced by the Russian Enlightenment). It was built in the 18th century at the foot of the castle by Anthimos, an Athonite monk, who founded other temples as well in the Southern Aegean Sea. You will notice the ornamental edge tiles at the molding, the ornate three-storey steeple with its pseudo-Ionic columns and the polygonal tympanum of its light blue dome. This church is the most important Orthodox pilgrimage site of the island as the icon of Panagia Portaitissa, the Guardian of the hearth, is kept in it. This icon is a replica of the same icon from the monastery of Iviron on Mount Athos. You will also notice the inlaid Baroque iconostasis and bishop’s throne. The murals of the church have Russian influences. There is also an exhibition of church artifacts in an adjacent room.

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