The central part of Zakynthos island is different again to the rest of the island. With little tradional villages time seems to have forgotten.
Certainly the residents of these villages don’t seem to worry to much about time. You can discover the Greek hospitality, and experience real village life.
In every Greek village you will find a square. Full of the older Greek men, passing the time of day, catching up on the local gossip or just watching the world go by.
One of these villages is Macherado where you will find the incredible chuch of Agia Mavra – The Black Madonna. The chuch in the centre of the village also know as the church of St Thomas and Mavra.
Legend has it that a shepherd on Zakynthos found the image of the saint Mavra hanging from a tree and carried it home. The next morning however the icon had magically returned to the same tree. The shepherd took the icon again and the following day the same thing had happened. This went on for a few days until it was decided that a church was to be built on this site and the icon found its resting place.
The inside of the church was destroyed by a fire in December 2005 but the locals and a very active priest are doing their best to restore the church to its original glory. The icon was not touched by the fire and is dtill in the church along with pictures of the original design.
Today the church consists of an impressive Venetian bell tower and is strickingly decorated with jewels gold and frescoes.
The villages celebrate the feast of Agia Mavra on the 3rd of May and then again on the second Sunday of July. Great fun events to take part in.
A little further along from the village of Macherdo you will also find the womens only convent of Eletherotria. The magnificant red and white building can be seen from far away, set in the village of Lagopodo, It was established in 1962 by Archimandrite Chrysostomos Gelvesis, the spiritual father of the monastery. There are currently 17 nuns there who open the doors of the monastery to visitors.
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