Kastrologos
Castles of Greece

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Nea Moni, Chios, North Aegean

Tower of Nea Moni

  
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Tower of Nea Moni
Location:
At the monastery 'Nea Moni' west of the town of Chios, at the center of the island of Chios
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
North Aegean
Chios
Municipality > Town:
City of Chios
• Nea Moni
Altitude:
Elevation ≈ 440 m 
(Relative Height≈0 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
14th century  
Late-BYZANTINE
H 
Castle Type   Condition
Castle-Monastery  
Rather Poor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nea Moni (Greek: Νέα Μονή, lit. "New Monastery") is an 11th-century monastery on the island of Chios that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located about 12 km from Chios town. It is well known for its mosaics.


History

The monastery was built in the mid-11th century, by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomachos and his wife, Empress Zoe. Over the next centuries, the monastery amassed substantial riches and became one of the wealthiest monasteries in the Aegean. At its peak, around 1300, its estates covered one third of Chios and it is estimated that up to 1000 monks belonged to it.
The subsequent Genoese domination reduced its wealth, but the monastery prospered again during the Ottoman era, when it was subject directly to the Patriarch of Constantinople, and enjoyed considerable autonomy.

The monastery’s decline began only after the destruction of Chios by the Ottomans in 1822, during the Greek War of Independence. The monastery was sacked and looted, and never recovered its former glory. In 1881, an earthquake added further damage to the main church, leading to the collapse of its dome and other buildings. It was deserted after this.
Restoration works took place in the period 1947-1962. In 1952, due to the shortage of monks, Nea Moni was converted to a convent.

The monastery is surrounded by a defensive wall with a tower at its NW corner. The original Byzantine walls were destroyed by the Ottomans in 1822, so the walls we see today are younger.

The tower, most probably, is a construction of the 14th century. It is believed that the tower and the old fortification were built to reinforce the defense of the monastery in the aftermath of the Saracen looting of Nea Moni in 1300.

So the tower is the only piece of the Medieval fortification that still stands today. It was used, in the past, as a defensive tower, of course, but it housed the library of the monastery, with the precious relics, too.


Structure, Fortification & Buildings

The tower occupies the northwestern corner of the outer wall of the monastery. It is built on rocky ground.

Initially, it was a 3-storey building. Today, the tower is preserved at the maximum height of 11.25m. The third floor and the over-structure are not preserved.

The tower is rectangular with dimensions 12.65✖7.20m.


Sources

  • Website ΟΔΥΣΣΕΥΣ - Greek Minstry of Culture - Nea Moni at Chios
  • Πασχάλης Ανδρούδης-Ισίδωρος Πλακωτάρης (2015), «Νέα Στοιχεία για τον Πύργο της Νέας Μονής Χίου», Α΄ [Η΄] ΣΥΝΑΝΤΗΣΗ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΒΥΖΑΝΤΙΝΟΛΟΓΩΝ υπό την αιγίδα της Ελληνικής Επιτροπής Βυζαντινών Σπουδών, 16 - 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2015



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