ZITSA / CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS
The Pateron Monastery
After Theogefiro, as we climb up the road to Zitsa, a dirt road located 800 meters on the right, leads to the Pateron Monastery, which played a major role in the economic and intellectual development of the area during the Turkish occupation. Today, a major part of the double parvis and the nave which was built in 1590 according to an inscription on the southern wall remains, along with the bell tower built in 1850; seeing the ruins, one can also imagine what the cells and the secondary rooms looked like. An element which is relatively rare in Christian monuments of the ottoman period: the churchs dome. The size of the nave is also impressive. The large number of pictures in the internal part of the monastery (hagiography dating back to 1631-32) is reminiscent of the baroque period: no surface is bare. The gold-plated woodcut icon screen is signed by the painter Demetrio (1680), who was born in Zitsa. The monastery is a listed monument and can be visited. For centuries, it has been holding a festival to celebrate the 15th of August (Dormition of the Virgin Mary), featuring musicians from the neighboring village of Parakalamos.
On the day of the festival, one can taste the well-known casserole, which is offered to all visitors.
* architecture, monastery, painting, festival, economy.
Monastery of Prophet Elijah in Zitsa
The monastery of the Prophet Elijah, with its well-preserved parvis, the nave with the peculiar roof, the recently restored cells and reservoir, is situated among rich pine forest on the highest part of Zitsa. The monastery was built in 1655/6 by the priest monk Athanasius and was decorated in the same period by the painters Georgios, Ioannis and Demetrio. In 1799, the abbot of the wine-producing monastery, Grigorios Eksarhou, an excellent wine-maker himself, built the narthex and assigned its hagiography to the painters Ioannis and Anastasios Anagnostis from Kapesovo. The icons depicting bishops as well as the icon of the Prophet Elijah, are of major importance. Lord Byron, a great propagator of the beauty of Zitsas landscape, Pouqeville, the French consul in Ioannina, Disraeli, Maximilian, the emperor of Mexico, and many others are included among the monastery's famous visitors.
The monastery can be visited upon agreement with Giorgos Siatras, tel. 2658022472 or 2651031924 and Giannis Kotsias 2658022484 or 6942689763. It celebrates on 20 July. In the evening of 19 July, following the vespers, worshippers are treated to a dinner in the yard of the monastery, which includes meat produced and offered by the cattle-breeders of the area. This monastery is also open on Low Sunday for the ceremony.
* architecture, monastery, economy, wine-producer, Lord Byron, festival.
Church of St. Dimitrios Klimatias
A cross-roofed church dating back to 1558, with remarkable wall-painting decoration.
Can be visited.
* Architecture, church, hagiography.
Monastery of the Metamorphosis of the Savior (Metamorphosis tou Sotiros Klimatias)
Outside Klimatia, to the northwest part and following a twenty-minute walk, one encounters the Monastery of the Metamorphosis of the Savior, a listed monument. The only surviving portion is the single-spaced domed church with the wall-painting of the famed painter Frangos Kondaris, a representative of an autonomous school of painting based in Thebes, several works of which can be seen mainly in Epirus and Thessaly. It was founded in 1568 by the priest-monk Ioasaf Philanthropinos, an abbot of the homonymous monastery built on the island of Ioannina.
The monastery can be visited. Visitors may ask for the key at the village's coffee house. It celebrates on 6 August.
* architecture, monastery, painting, hagiography, festival.
Monastery of Paliouris (Moni Paliouris)
Built in 1688-90 on the ruins of an old chapel constructed in the 14th century by the Archbishop of Ioannina Thomas Preliubovic, the monastery of Paliouri stands on a small road passing from the Ioannina Igoumenitsa national road, which leads to the clear waters of a tributary river of Kalamas, through plane-trees. As the parvis, nave, the hospice and the cells have been recently restored it is one of the few monasteries the abbot of which is father Athanasius Siousopoulos, professor of theology in Ioannina. The monastery can be visited upon agreement with the abbot. It celebrates on 8 September. A two-day festival with local bands.