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The Rock Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

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Meteora: Greece's Orthodox Monasteries

GeorgeMarcu

Top contributor GeorgeMarcu treats us to this epic aerial tour of the famous monasteries of Meteora in the Thessaly region of northern Greece.  The immense rock pillars of the region are home to six Greek Orthodox monasteries.  The most well known is the Monastery of the Holy Trinity.  This masterpiece "played the role" of St. Cyril's in the 13th James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only (1981), in which 007 (played by Roger Moore) scales a cliff and dispatches a henchman of Aristotle Kristatos.

Greece's Simonos Petra Monastery

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Simonos Petra Monastery at the Holy Mountain, Greece

Icarus Aerial Filming

Icarus Aerial Filming created this stunning bird's eye view of the Simonos Petra Monastery, one of the great cultural treasures of Greece.  The monastery is on the Holy Mountain of Athos on a peninsula of Thrace in northeastern Greece.  The mountain is considered one of the most important places in the Eastern Orthodox religion, and Mt. Athos is technically a monastic state within the state of Greece, a status which has some similarities with that of the Vatican.  

Ostrog Monastery, Montenegro

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The Monastery of Ostrog

FoxCreative

Contributor Foxcreativity used a drone to film one of the most famous monasteries in Southeastern Europe.  The Monastery of Ostrog is built into a hilltop near the town of Danilovgrad in central Montenegro.  It was originally constructed in the 17th century and largely rebuilt following a fire in the early 20th century.  The monastery is dedicated to St. Basil of Ostrog, a Serbian bishop who lived in the 17th century and is sainted by the Eastern Orthodox Church.  It's considered a top cultural destination in Montenegro.   

France's Mont' St. Michel

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Mont Saint-Michel in 4k

iDrone Aerials

iDrone Aerials created this magnificent drone video of one of the world's most famous monasteries as well as one of the most recognizable sites in France.  Mont St. Michel is a tiny island off the coast of Normandy, one of the regions of northwestern France.  The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, which sits atop the island and is its centerpiece, dates to the 8th century.  It is prominently visible in the famous Bayeux Tapestry which commemorates the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century.

Turkey's Sumela Monastery

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Sumela Monastery: Trabzon, Turkey

enghasanali

Check out this magnificent video of one of Turkey's most famous monasteries, compliments of contributor and drone pilot enghasanali.  Sumela is a Greek Orthodox monastery built into a mountain in Trabzon, one of the provinces of Turkey's Black Sea region.  Its "host" Melá Mountain is part of the Pontic range which runs parallel to the coastline.   The original structure dates to the 4th century AD, and it took its present form in the 13th century.   It's associated with a famous icon of the Virgin Mary.  

The Abbey of Montserrat

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Fantastic Montserrat Abbey - Final

Franlac-Channel-France

The Montserrat mountain masif northwest of Barcelona, Spain is the home of one of the most important sites of the Christian religion: the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey.  Founded in the 12th century, it's home to the Virgin of Montserrat statue, the most famous of the Black Madonna icons.  The monastery was rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries and is currently houses about 80 Benedictine monks.  In this video by Franlac-Channel-France, you can get a bird's eye view of the famous monastery and the adjacent basilica.  

Key Monastery in Northern India

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Key Monastery: Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

PixelDo.Com

Contributor PixelDo created this epic drone video of one of the world's most famous Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.  Key Monastery is situated in the Spiti Valley in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India.  It's in the foothills of the Himalayas, at an altitude of over 4.1k meters (almost 13.7k ft.).  Believed to have been built in the 11th century, it's the largest monastery in the Spiti Valley, which served as the conduit for the spread of Buddhism from its birthplace in Tibet into India.

Armenia's Khor Vrap Monastery

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Armenia's Khor Vrap Monastery

johny kondakjian photography

Johny Kondakjian Photography used a drone to create this beautiful video of the Khor Virap Monastery on Armenia's Ararat Plain.  The structure was built in the 17th century, on the ruins of the site of a Pilgrimage of Gregory the Illuminator, who was credited with converting Armenia to Christianity in the 4th century AD.  The current church was preceded by a chapel built on this important religious site.  The monastery also provides a vantage point to view nearby Mt. Ararat, Turkey's tallest mountain.

Somapura Mahavihara, Bangladesh

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Somapura Mahavihara Monastery, Bangladesh

A kid with gun

Contributor A Kid with a Gun used a drone to create this stunning aerial view of Somapura Mahavihara, the great Buddhist monastery in Bangladesh.  Located in the northwestern part of the country, near the Indian border, it played an important role in the eastward spread of Buddhism from India.  The 1,200 year old structure is considered on of the most important cultural sites on the Indian Subcontinent, and is one of just three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bangladesh as of 2018.

Armenia's Tatev Monastery

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The Tatev Monastery, Armenia

AlexAvsharov

Contributor AlexAvsharov brings us this excellent aerial video of one of the great Monasteries of Armenia.  The Tatev Monastery is located in the Syunik Province, a southeastern extension of the country which is all but surrounded by Azerbaijan and Iran.  Founded in the 9th century AD, the three main components to the complex are churches devoted to Saints Paul and Peter, Saint Gregory the Illuminator, and Holy Mother of God.  At one point, the monastery was home to over 1,000 monks. 

Taung Kalat, Myanmar

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Myanmar's Sacred Plain of Bagan: Mount Poppa

TAO Swiss

TAO Swiss used a DJI Mavic Pro drone to create this beautiful aerial tour of the area around Mandalay, on Myanmar's Sacred Plain of Bagan.  This is one of the most important areas of the Buddhist religion, and was once home to thousands of temples and other religious structures.  The highlight of the video is at the 4:00 mark, where you'll get a rare aerial look at the Taung Kalat, a very famous Buddhist monastery built (seemingly impossibly) atop a hill near Mount Popa.  

Kursk Root Hermitage, Russia

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Russia's Kursk Root Hermitage

Vaterlou

In this video, you'll get a bird's eye view of a well known Eastern Orthodox monastery in the heart of Russia.  The Kursk Root Hermitage of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God  is located in the Kursk province, one of the 18 which make up Russia's Central Federal District.  The monastery, which dates to the turn of the 16th century, was built to commemorate the Kursk Root Icon of the Sign, a painting which was found in the forests of Kursk around 1300 AD. 

Sigiriya: Rock Monastery in Sri Lanka

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Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

NGreyTravels

Contributor NGreyTravels used a DJI drone to create this remarkable aerial video of one of the world's most famous hilltop structures.  The Sigiriya ("Lion Rock") is a gigantic rock fortress and monastery complex located near the center of Sri Lanka, the island nation off the southern coast of India.  The fortress was built in the 5th century AD as a new capital city by Kashyapa I, a long-serving king of Sri Lanka.  It was later converted to a monastery, which was active until the 14th century.

Kiev's Pechersk Lavra

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Kiev Pechersk Lavra: Ukrainian Monastery

Aleks-Dron83

Kiev Pechersk Lavra is one of the most well known Christian Orthodoz monasteries.  It's situated in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.  Founded in the 11th century as a cave monastery, it's considered the most important Eastern Orthodox monastic structure in Eastern Europe.  The site consists of several different buildings, which are jointly managed by a museum commission and the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Kiev Pechersk Lavra is one of the top tourist attractions in Kiev.  

Ireland's Skellig Michael Monastery

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Skellig Islands Ireland in 4K

Papa.drone

Papa.drone gives us a drone's eye view of the Star Wars Islands, two islands off the coast of southern Ireland.  Great Skellig (aka Skellig Michael) and Little Skellig are located southwest of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry.  Once primarily known for Skellig Michael's 6th century monastery, the islands burst into public conciousness in 2015 as the  shooting location for Jedi Master Luke Skywalker's hideaway in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), appearing again in The Last Jedi (2017)

Mar Saba Monastery, Judean Desert

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Mar Saba

Rea_Burla

The Eastern Orthodox Mar Saba Monastery is the largest in Israel's Judaean Desert, which lies to the south and west of the capital city Jerusalam. Mar Saba is named after Saint Sabas, the monk who established the monastery in the 5th century. It was built along the cliffs of the Kidron Creek protecting it from harm. These aerial views show the amazing structure, which is currently home to 20 monks, in a whole new light, thanks to pilot Rea Burla.

Manzushir: Mongolian Gompa

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Mongolia's Manzushir Monastery

Jack jamka

Contributor Jack Jamka created this stunning drone video of an old Buddhist "Gompa" in Mongolia called Manzushir.  Gompas are multi-purpose structures which were built by Buddhist monks to provide physical security as well as sanctuaries for quiet contemplation and learning.  It was originally built in 1733, but destroyed during a period of civil strife in the 1930's.  The remains of the monastery complex are a short distance to the south of the country's capital Ulaanbaatar, in the central part of the country.

Leyre Monastery in Navarre, Spain

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Monasterio de Leyre: Navarre, Spain

Alfonso

Check out this drone video of a famous monastery in northern Spain, compliements of contributor Alfonso. The Monasterio de Leyre is located in the region of Navarre, an autonomous region of Spain which sits between Basque Country and Aragon.  The structure dates to the 9th century AD, although it was more or less completely rebuilt in the 16th century.  The monastery is located on the Camino de Santiago, a historical pilgrimmage route which ends in the Galicia region in the country's northwestern corner.  

Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, England

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Whitby Abbey: DJI Mavic Pro

SKYDRONAUTS

Skydronauts used some amazing post-production editing to create this marvelous drone video of Whitby Abbey, situated in the Yorkshire town of the same name.  This iconic looking town on the coast of Northern England has a long literary history.  Famously, Whitby made a notable appearance in Bram Stoker's classic novel Count Dracula.  Stoker was inspired by the gothic appearance of the town, and in the book the dreaded count from Transylvania strikes Whitby after his ship runs aground there.  

Italy's Certosa di Pavia

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Mysteries of Lombardy's Certosa di Pavia

electriclife

Top contributor Electriclife used a Zenmuse X7 camera mounted to a DJI Inspire 2 drone to make this spectacular video of the Certosa di Pavia, a monastery northern Italy's Lombardy region.  It lies near the town of Pavia.  The monastery was built over a hundred year period roughly coinciding with the 15th century.  It was commissioned by a nobleman from Milan, which lies a short distance to its north.  Among other distinctions, the Certosa di Pavia is one of Italy's largest monasteries.

Selime Monastery in Central Turkey

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Turkey Home - Selime Monastery from Above!

Turkey Home

The famous "fairy tale chimneys" of Cappadocia in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey are not only natural wonders but also have great cultural value: the unique rock formations were used to build monasteries.  Some of these structures date to the third century AD, near the very dawn of Christianity.  In this drone video by contributor Turkey Home, you'll get a bird's eye view of Selime Monastery.  Located at the end of the Ilhara Valley, Selime dates to about the 8th century AD.

Italy's Sacra di San Michele

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The Fire at the Sacra di San Michele

electriclife

Contributor Electriclife created this marvelous drone video of a monastery in Piedmont, Italy called the Sacra di San Michele.  Settlement in the area dates to the Antiquity, with the present monastery having been built in either the 10th or 11th century AD.  Also known as St. Michael's Abbey, this landmark has an important place in 20th century literature: it served as the inspiration for the monastery in Umberto Eco's 1980 novel The Name of the Rose, one of the bestselling works of fiction ever.

Ireland's Friary of Ross

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Friary of Ross (Ross Errilly Friary)

AshevilleAerial

Friary Ross is one of the best-preserved medieval monasteries in Europe.  It is located in County Galway on the west coast of Ireland.  Sometimes referred to as "Ross Abbey", it is considered a cultural treasure of Ireland is protected under national conservation statutes.  Contributor Ashville Aerial used a DJI Mavic Pro drone to create a remarkable aerial tour of this centuries-old site.  Although the monastery has fallen into disuse, it continues to be used as a burial grounds.  

Scotland's Jedburgh Abbey

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Jedburgh Abbey - Scottish Borders UK

AvariceUK

The Scottish Borders is a region of eastern Scotland, just north of the border with England.  One of the cultural highlights of this area is Jedburgh Abbey, a ruined 12th century Ausugtinian monastery.  Once one of the great monasteries of Great Britain, it fell victim to the waves of violence which spread over the region beginning with the First War of Scottish Independence in the late 13th century.  Contributor AvariceUK made a beautiful drone video of this important cultural landmark.  

Russia's New Jerusalem Monastery

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Новый Иерусалим: Russia's New Jerusalem Monastery

Valius Video

Contributor Valius Video used a drone to create this bird's eye view of the New Jerusalem Monastery, which is not located anywhere near Israel.  Rather, it is in metropolitan Moscow, the great Russian capital city.  It was built in the 17th century on a site which was (vaguely) reminiscent of the "real" Jerusalem.  The monastery was heavily damaged by invading German troops in late 1941, marking very nearly the furthest advance made by Germany during that campaign before being driven back.

Hong Kong's Po Lin Monastery

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Hong Kong: Above the Monastery

Droneland

Contributor Droneland created this epic aerial video of the famous Po Lin Monastery on Lantau, one of the outlying islands of Hong Kong.  The Buddhist monastery was founded by monks from the Chinese mainland in 1906, and was known initially as the "Big Hut" (it took its current name in 1924).  In 1993, the complex was significantly expanded with the construction of the Big Buddha statue.   Standing 34 meters tall (over 100 ft), it's one of the largest Buddha statues in China.  

Portugal's Santuário da Peninha

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Video Project - Santuario de Peninha

flybyzion

Contributor Flybyzion used a DJI Phantom 3 Professional to create this beautiful aerial of Santuário da Peninha, a well known Portuguese monastery.  It's situated on a rocky outcrop in the mountains of the Sintra province, which is part of the Greater Lisbon region and is situated just a bit to the north and west of the capital city.  The site has been used for monastic purposes since Portugal first converted to Christianity.  The chapel which currently sits atop the hill dates to the early 18th century.

Brazil's São Bento Monastery

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Monastery of São Bento - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

Digital Peace Drone

Contributor Digital Peace Drone created this beautiful drone video of one of the most well known monasteries in Brazil: the São Bento Monastery in the city of Rio de Janeiro.  It's a Benedictine Abbey which dates to the late 16th century; the current structure dates to the late 17th century.  It's known in part for its ornately carved gliding, which were common features of the Baroque design.  Still operational, it's located on a hill near the center of the great city.  

Norway's Utstein Kloster

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Utstein Kloster - Dji Phantom4 Pro 4K

PilotViking

Check out this beautiful drone video of Norway's best-preserved monastery, compliments of top contributor PilotViking.  It's called the Ulstein Kloster, and it's located on an island of the same name in Rogalund County in the southwestern part of the country.  The monastery dates to the 13th century, and is dedicated to Saint Lawrence.  The complex underwent substantial restoration in the early 20th century and further work on its buildings and grounds was undertaken several decades later.  

Lithuania's Pažaislis Monastery

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Pažaislis Monastery

Andriuhamas

Here's a nice aerial view of the largest monastery in the Baltic republic of Lithuania, compliments of contributor Andriuhamas.  It's the Pažaislis Monastery and the Church of the Visitation in the Petrašiūnai neighborhood of Kaunas the country's cultural capital.  The monastery founded in 1662 but wasn't completed until early in the 18th century.  It's considered the finest example of Baroque architecture in the country.  Since the 1990's, it's also been the scene of an annual music festival.  

Georgia's Jvari Monastery

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Jvari Monastery

Maikl_rus

Some of the oldest lands of Christianity can be found in the Caucasus region.  The predecessors of modern Armenia and Georgia were both in the Christian camp by the 4th century AD, long before most of Western Europe had any idea of the new religion.  This is the reason why the Caucasus is home to so many monasteries.  In this drone video by Malik_rus, you'll see the 6th century Jvari Monastery in the Georgian province of Mtskheta-Mtianeti, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  

Cyprus: Kykkos Monastery

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Kykkos Monastery

Lego
  • Lego
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Here's an awesome aerial look at a famous monastery on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, compliments of contributor Lego.  It's called the Kykkos Monastery, and it's situated near the village of Pedoulas in the Nicosia District, which covers much of the central part of the island. The monastery is built in the Troodos Mountains, a range which covers much of western Cyprus.  The original monastery dates to the 11th century and is tied to a local legend involving the Byzantine Emperor.  

Taiwan's Fo Guang Shan

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Fo Guang Shan Big Buddha (SPARK)

negraof

Contributor Negraof used a DJI Spark drone to create this beautiful aerial view of the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan.  It's the headquarters for Fo Guang Shan, a large Chinese Buddhist monastic order which was founded in the late 1960's.  While relatively young, Fo Guang Shan is considered one of the four leading Buddhist organizations on this Southeast Asian island nation.  It's part of the Kaohsiung municipality in the southwestern section of the country.

Vardzia: Georgian Cave Monasteries

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Wardsia Georgia #djimavicpro2

70daysaroundtheworld

Here's an aerial video of a famous cave monastery in the Caucasus republic of Georgia, compliments of contributor 70daysaroundtheworld.  Vardzia is situated on the banks of the Kura River in the Samtskhe–Javakheti region, in the southern part of the country.  Constructed primarily in the 12th century, the caves are cut into a cliff wall.  They run for about 500 meters length-wise and are up to 19 tiers high.  The caves were abandoned following the Ottoman conquest of the region in the 1500's.  

Bellaplais Abbey, North Cyprus

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Bellapais Monastery Kyrenia North Cyprus

Iain Jordan

The Bellaplais Abbey is an 800 year old structure built in the northern part of the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus.  The site itself dates back to the Antiquity, where it was used to hide from seafaring Arab pirates.  Contributor Iaian Jordan used a DJI drone to make this amazing bird's eye view of the Abbey, which sits on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.  They Abbey is situated in Kyrenia, on a portion of the island which is controlled by Turkey.    

Montenegro's Savina Monastery

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Savina Monastery

FoxCreative

Contributor Fox Creative created this excellent aerial view of a well-known Orthodox Monastery in the Balkan nation of Montenegro.  Savina Monastery is located near the city of Herceg Novi on the Bay of Kotor, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. The monastery dates to the 15th century.  The complex consists of three churches: the Church of the Assumption, the Great Temple of the Assumption, and the Church of St. Sava.  Savina also houses a number of important relics from a medieval Serb dynasty.  

Pakistan's Takht-i-Bahi Monastery

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Takht-i-Bahi Monastery in Northern Pakistan

Backpacker Let's Explore The World

Check out this drone video of Pakistan's most famous Buddhist monastery, compliments of contributor Backpacker Let's Explore the World.  It's called Takht-i-Bahi, and it's located near the town of Mardan near the middle of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.  It's actually a complex which includes the monastery, a court, assembly hall, and other buildings.  The monastery, which is the oldest part, dates to the first century AD.  It hasn't been used since the 7th century, falling into a ruined but well-preserved state.  

Beuron Archabbey: German Benedictine Monastery

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4K German Monastery | Kloster - Beuron

Maciej Ziomber

Contributor Maciej Ziomber combined drone and ground camera footage to create this marvelous video of one of Germany's most famous monasteries.  It's called Beuron Archabbey, and it's a Benedictine Monastery which was founded in 1863 in its namesake town.  It continues to operate, and it's home to Germany's largest monastic library.  Beuron is part of Baden-Württemberg Germany's most heavily Catholic state, which covers the southwestern part of the country.

Armenia's Noravank Monastery

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The Noravank Monastery, Armenia

AlexAvsharov

Contributor AlexAvsharov put together this excellent aerial tour of a well-known monastery in Armenia, one of the first lands to officially adopt Christianity.  It's called the Noravank Monastery, and it's located in a narrow river gorge near Yeghegnadzor, a bit over 120 km or around 75 mi. south of the Armenian capital city, Yerevan.  It was founded in 1206.  The two main buildings in the complex are the Surb Astvatsatsin Church, completed in 1339, and the somewhat smaller Surb Karapet Church, completed in 1227.

England's Bayham Old Abbey

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Bayham Old Abbey UK

oszibusz

Check out this drone video of a well-known monastery in Southeastern England, compliments of oszibusz.  Bayham Old Abbey was founded in the early 13th century near the town of Lamberhurst in County Kent.  Initially devoted to the study of the works of St. Augustine, the monastery came into Crown hands during the time of the English Reformation.  It was sold to private owners in the early 18th century, and was donated to the state in the early 1960's.  Now an English Heritage property, it's open to the public.  

Clonmacnoise Monastery Ruins, Ireland

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Clonmacnoise Ireland's Ancient East

Vivify Multimedia

Check out this drone video of the ruins of one of Ireland's oldest and most famous monasteries, compliments of Vivify Multimedia.  It's called Clonmacnoise, and it's situated in County Offaly near the center of the island.  The monastery was founded in the 6th century AD.  By the middle of the Medieval period, it was one of the two most well-known monastic sites in Ireland.  The monastery was one of the stops on the now-famous 1979 visit to Ireland by Pope John Paul II shortly after his election to the papacy.    

Sant Pere de Rodes: Spanish Benedictine Monastery

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Monasterio de Sant Pere de Rodes, Port de la Selva, Gerona. Rescuebcn-Mavic Pro 4k dron drone

Rescuedron

Sant Pere de Rodes is a well known Benedictine monastery in the northeastern corner of Spain.  It's situated in the county of Alt Empordà in Girona, the northernmost of the four provinces which make up the region of Catalonia.  It dates to as early as the ninth century AD.  By the 17th century, it was no longer in use.  The site affords excellent views of the Bay of Llançà on the Costa Brava.  In this excellent video by contributor and drone pilot D_Drone, you'll get a bird's eye view of this landmark.  

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