THE TZOUMERKA REGION/CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS
- Kipina Monastery:
Along the road to Kallarites, a building of reddish stone proudly stands among the vertical rocks along the banks of the Kallaritikos. This is the famous Kipina Monastery. A wondrous architectural feat and impregnable castle. The church, four cells and one small stone building which was used as a stable, remain of the old buildings. The church, a small one room temple, is built on a wide cave and contains a rich variety of 18th century icons. One of the major icons along the wooden chancel screen, depicting St. John the Baptist, is the work of Father John of Sagiada (1735), whose work is also known from the Viliza monastery. The location and nature of this monument, the crypt on the ground floor, the 240 meter long cave which continues from the northern side of the narthex, access over the rock which has been made smooth by time and the wooden moving bridge stun even the most jaded visitors. Dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, the monastery celebrates on the feast of Zoodochos Pigi (life giving source). It was recently restored and can be visited by appointment with Father Lambros Arletos, tel:. 26590 61790 & 26590 43960 and Mr. Dimitrios Kotsis, tel.: 26590 61186.
* architecture, monastery, hagiography, cave, natural beauty, festival.
- Holy Church of St. Nicholas of Kallarita:
A large three aisled basilica with a very tall central dome built in the 15th century and
burned in 1821 during the struggle for independence. It was decorated with the wonderful wood sculptures carved by a skillful Metsovite craftsman in 1845 while the chandelier which was ordered from Trieste, was donated by the Nessi family. Here, the bible which was bound by the wonderful craftsman Athanasios Tsimouris is kept with other silver treasures of Kallarita.
The church can be visited during mass or afterwards by appointment with father Vasilios Tatsis, tel. 26590 61174. It celebrates on December 6 with vespers, artoklasia (bread breaking) and mass.
* architecture, church, silversmithing, hagiography
- The Holy Monastery of Viliza in Matsouki:
A little after Matsouki, at the Viglas location (or observatory, altitude 1,050 meters), the Vliza Monastery guards the passages as it is built at the point where three tributaries of Arachthos meet. Tradition has it that this monastery was built in the 11th century. The current complex, with its cells, the two story abbey, the passageway and the church are estimated by specialists to have been built in the 17th century. An inscription over the nave informs us that it was restored in 1783. The church is a wooden roofed, single room building with many frescoes. The painters Konstantinos, Stergios, Christodoulos and Ioannis from Koritiani painted the nave and church in 1793. The icons of the narthex are probably the work of a 17th century hagiographer from Kallarites, except for the icon of the Second Coming. The Monastery which flourished in the 18th century, had a library which contained a significant amount of manuscripts. Some of these were transferred to the National Library (Athens) in 1893 (when the Monastery was abandoned) while others are on exhibit at the Matsouki Museum. North of the buildings is a reservoir-monument that dates back to 1780 and the funeral chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which is known for its frescoes. The monastery is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary but celebrates on the15th of August with a four day festival that is held in the village square.
* architecture, monastery, hagiography, festival
- Chapel of St. John the Baptist (Viliza Monastery):
George and Stergios, painters from neighboring Kallarites, have filled this elegant chapel with light and color, despite its macabre function.
The painting is a sample of the skill of these local painting crews which worked in the 18th and 19th century, in Tzoumerka as well as Thessaly (Meteora, Kalabaka, etc.). The figure of the Merciless Death appears to have had as a prototype a Venetian version painted in 1528 that was titled Mourning of death life is futile and a return to the creator which the library of the Viliza Monastery had in its possession.
* architecture, monastery, hagiographers fro Kallarites
- The Holy Church of All Saints in Michalitsi:
At the northernmost corner of the village lies the Church of All Saints, which was built over pre-christian ruins. The Church is a three aisled basilica.
- Monastery of St. Paraskevi in Pramanta:
Build in 1876 on a small, verdant hill, outside the village and walled in like a fortress, its three aisled basilica is home to icons painted in 1839 which were transferred here from the neighboring chapel of St. Paraskevi.
- Monastery of the Mouchoustiotissa Virgin or Monastery of Plaka:
Near the Plaka Bridge in the Raftanaioi neighborhood named Mouchousti, on the left bank of the Arachthos, the Mouchousti Monastery is a true site to behold for visitors arriving here from the tarred road winding through the sycamore trees. The Monastery was restored in 1665 with funds donated by Theodore Nikas from Plaisia. Today, its church, a single room building with choirs to the side and a part of its courtyard remain. The hagiography of the main church dates back to 1680 and was carried out by an anonymous group of painters or students of the painters who painted the Dormition of the Virgin of Plaisio in 1664 and St,. Nicholas of Tzioras a year earlier. The narthex was painted by an anonymous crew in 1694 which in all probability also painted the Church of St. Simon in Koritiani. A fork in the illustration of the Birth of the Virgin Mary shows the artists attempt to import new customs into his art.. Forks were imported into Epirus from Italy and Nuremberg, Germany in the 17th century. The Monastery is dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin and celebrated on September 8th with a traditional festival in the courtyard.
* architecture, monastery, hagiography, festival
- Church of St. Nicholas in Sirrako:
In the center of the village stand the 17th century church of St. Nicholas which stands out for its wood carved chancel screen and epitaphios which was specially ordered from Russia at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Monastery of St. Paraskevi in Chouliarades
From the top of a small, tree lined hill, next to the villages central square, on can see the monastery of St. Paraskevi, built by craftsmen from Goura in 1745 and painted in 1804, towering over the Arachthos Gorge.
* architecture, monastery, hagiography, view