It had never crossed my mind that one day I might visit a monastery up in the greek mountains where a handful of monks abide, but it it did happen on a day out from Parga.
The location of the monastery is something you really have to see in person to fully appreciate it’s vastness and beauty, the views of the giant rocks against a mountainous back drop are simply awe-inspiring and a photographers paradise.
The rock formations were like nothing I’d ever seen in real life, and reminded me (a little bit) of pictures I’ve seen of the Grand Canyon.
It’s truly amazing to think that people live up there with nothing but magnificent views and tranquility, no rush hour traffic or noisy neighbours, just a deeper connection with themselves, nature and pure peace.
I imagine that when there’s a rain or snow storm the views must be spectacular.
The roads leading up to this area are often inaccessible when the snow is bad – so I guess they need to stock up on all essential supplies before the winter hits in case they can’t get out.
There is a similar building in sight (on another rock) where nuns live; the monks’ nearest neighbours I guess!
You cannot enter the monastery with arms showing, they must be covered up – men cannot wear shorts and ladies legs must not be revealed in shape or flesh. You will be given a type of sarong cover up to wrap around your legs if you are not deemed to be modest enough. Thanks to prior warning from my holiday rep, I brought my own beach sarong and tied it around me before going up to the main entrance.
The monastery building is only accessible by climbing steep winding stairs up and down again. There is no lift or access for wheelchair users.
The monastery itself is a beautiful building, renovated to a modern rustic standard.
The inner prayer areas in the monastery are exquisitely adorned with art, furniture and other religious items. We were not allowed to take photographs in that area, but the postcards below show what we saw inside.
Members of the public were entering and leaving the inner area, worshiping, kissing the image of Mary and crossing their chests – manoeuvring their way around those who were just spectating as we listened to talks from our tour guide.
There used to be 300 monks living here, now there are only three!!
It was a long day and a really long drive – but I’m glad I got to see this amazing place.