Palea Panagia, the old temple of the Dormition of Theotokou, is located between the two settlements of Ithaca, Perachori and Paleochora. The fact that it has its own fortifications, a gate and high walls, proves that Palea Panagia was the cathedral of the then capital of Ithaca.
Palea Panagia was restored a few years ago and in its interior you can see Byzantine frescoes rendered in a rare technique and the cobblestone floor that dates back to 1881. The church operated until the earthquakes of 1953, when severe damages led to its abandonment. The beautifully carved chancel of Palea Panagia was rescued and transferred to the church of Agios Raphael, also situated at Perachori.
If when visiting Palea Panagia you find the door of the church locked, ask at the nearby houses for Meni, a sweet old lady, who will come to open the door for you. She will be pleased to tell you in full detail everything she learned from the scientists who came here in the ’90s to preserve the monument. And if you ask her, she will be glad to share with you her own memories of this magnificent church.