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Ardenica Monastery

Monastery of Ardenica, is locate l2 km from the town of Lushnja, south Albania. It is thought that the foundations of this monastery were built in 1282 on the initiative of the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Paleologus of Byzantium.
The incentive must have come from the existence of the chapel of St. Triadha in the area, which was built centuries before. This chapel might have been built on the foundations of the ruins of a pagan temple. The temple was built to honor the goddess Artemis, from which the present name Ardenicë derives. Very close to the temple, in the outskirts of which lies the current monastery, passes the southern branch of the ancient Via Egnatia. Here and there around the monastery one can see old constructions, which prove that previous settlements existed there.
According to Ottoman chronicles of 1431-1432, the village of Ardenicë, consisting of 8 houses, may have existed around the monastery. A high defensive wall and a wooden main gate surround the monastery. The gate dates back to 1474. In the center of the yard is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which was built in the time of the Despot of Epirus at the beginning of the thirteenth century. The surrounding galleries housed the monks and guests and served as areas for trade and commercial activity.
Most of the church was built in the thirteenth century, while the inscription on the wall says 1743. The bell tower was rebuilt in 1925. The frescoes dating from 1744 and mural works by the renowned painters Kostandin and Athanas Zografi from Korçë are found intact inside the church. The eastern walls of the church and parts of the surrounding walls are built using construction stones from Apollonia.

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