The Philosofou Monastery is located in the Prefecture of Arcadia, south of Dimitsana, at the gorge of the river Lousios. It is also known as Emiali Monastery and comprises two parts, an older and a newer one, at a small distance within each other. The older part was built in 963 A.D. by Ioannis Lambardopoulos, the so called “philosofos”, secretary of Nikiforos Fokas, from whom the Monastery took its name. The new Philosophou Monastery was built in the 17th century and opened soon after.
The old Philosofou Monastery, which is today deserted, is the oldest monastery in Arcadia and one of the most historic ones in Greece. During the Turkish rule, the famous today Secret School operated there, which developed into a religious school that later operated in the New Monastery. From the ranks of this school sprang important personas that played a decisive role in the liberation of the Greek nation. Until 1691 the Monastery continued to flourish as a spiritual centre. Between the years 1834-1836, however, its disbanding was decided, so it gradually fell into decline. Fairly recently it was declared a protected monument, and that’s when its maintenance and restoration works began.