June 20, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Day Trip: Saint Paraskeva Monastery in Monodendri

In one of the traditional and beautiful Zagorochorias of the prefecture of Ioannina, in Monodendri, the special birthplace of the great Rizari benefactors, the monastery of St. Paraskeva has existed for 600 years. It is literally on the edge of the cliff, perhaps the largest Vikos gorge in the world.

Today, the abandoned monastery is less than a kilometer from the village square. A cobbled pavement leads to the entrance to the monastery-fortress, built in 1413 by the governor Μιχαήλ Θεριανού. It consists of a small stone chapel, the oldest preserved in Zagori, and has a panoramic view of the gorge.

Creation and description

The monastery dedicated to St. Paraskeva was founded in 1413-1414. According to the inscription above its gate, the foundation was laid when the local ruler of Epirus was Despot Charles I Tokkos (Δεσπότης Κάρολος Α΄ Τόκκος). It was built by the inhabitants of the neighboring village of Vitsa at the personal expense of the local lord, governor Μιχαήλ Θεριανού. Tradition says that Therian built the monastery in gratitude for the salvation of his daughter, who suffered from an incurable disease.

A gate with an arch leads to the monastery-fortress. Inside there are stone buildings, comfortable cells, a well, etc. The current complex is maintained in good condition.

From the monastery, a path carved into the rock leads to chapels carved by nature into the rock. For centuries they have served as places of worship for God. The monastery with its adjacent caves was also a refuge for the locals during the Turkish occupation.

The festivities of Saint Paraskevi (Αγία Μεγαλομάρτυς Παρασκευή) take place on 26 July.

The view from the monastery is magnificent and truly breathtaking. The wild beauty of the area, Vikos Gorge, attracts many visitors to Monodendri and is only 18 km from Ioannina. The monastery is an ideal place for a day trip, for those who like to spend a weekend outside the city.

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