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The villa of Herodes Atticus Loukou Kynourias is among the most important monuments of the Roman imperial times in Greece.
© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

The Villa and the Monastery in Loukou

The Loukou Monastery is located beside the main road linking Astros to Tripoli on a wonderful spot surrounded by woods and olive groves – well watered by the Tanos River – with the Astros Plain spread out below it. The monastery was built in 1117 and is one of the most picturesque in the Peloponnese.

As you are sure to observe from the parking area where you leave your car, the whitewashed outer wall and the windows of the nuns’ cells give it much of the air of a fortress. Inside the walls there is a lovely paved courtyard with beautiful flowers, palms, loquats, citrus and a huge plane tree. Give yourself a few moments to enjoy the garden, which serves just as much as an archaeological museum, as it is surrounded by relics of antiquity – broken columns and capitals, marble decorative features, architectural elements, parapets, and even a few statues – which come from the Roman-era villa of Herodes Atticus and from an early Christian church that once stood on the same spot as the monastery.

Your next stop is the catholicon, the abbey’s main church. The walls inside are resplendent with marvellous frescoes from the 16th century. Once you have enjoyed the treat traditionally offered to visitors by the friendly nuns, head to the monastery.

The antiquities and excavations you will see along the way will awaken the archaeologist inside you. Long before the arrival of the nuns, this area was home to an ancient Greek village called Eva and the famous Sanctuary of Asclepiades the Warrior. Later, the Roman senator Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes built a villa on the spot and then his son, the famous orator, philosopher and politician Herodes Atticus, who grew up here, expanded it and refurbished it with an aqueduct, baths, statues, mosaics and a rich collection of artworks from his own private and rather famous collection, creating a luxurious and majestic residential complex that was over 20,000 square metres. Even the remains of the villa exude luxury, redefining the term.

Many World Heritage sites are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please check official websites for more information.

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The Villa and the Monastery in Loukou

Hours

The Roman-era villa of Herodes Atticus is currently closed for the public due to restoration and conservation works. For further information please contact the Ephorate of Antiquities of Arcadia.