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Holy Monastery of Saint Nikolaos Anapavsas

Driving up the road from Kastraki to Meteora and leaving behind the last houses of the village we can see on our left side the monastery of St Nikolas Anapavsas. The monastery was built on a small in extent rock and as result the construction of the monastery allowed a three-level vertical planning. For the specific monastery we do not have much information about when the first monks made it to top of the rock,but according to murals that were found in the little chapel of St Antonios and they date back to the 14th century a.d the ascetic life should have begun at the beginning of this century. The monastery was renovated in the early 16th century a.d by St Dionysios Metropolitan Bishop of Larissa and monk Nikanoras and has been active since 1900,date that the monaster was abandoned. In 1960 the monastery was restored by the local department of Archaeological Service and has been inhabited by father Palamas until the mid 1980s. After father Palamas left the monastery it remained close and reopened the gates only for guest tourists and visitors by the local priests. In 1997 the monastery opened his gates for monks again.

On the first level we can see the chapel of St Antonios, particularly important since the oldest remaining murals were found right there. On the same level we can find a crypt that monks where precious objects and manuscripts were kept,which have been relocated to monastery of St Stefanos during the period that the monastery was closed. Here we also can see the arcontariki (place of the lords) that is a reception place and has taken its name because in that particular part the monks treated persons as archon (lords). The second floor is covered entirely by the catholic of abbey of St Nikolas and in that visitors can admire murals of unbelievable beauty. The catholic,with the strange shape cause of the bizzare manerism of the rock that it was constructed,painted by the famous cretan painter Theofanis Strelitzas which constitutes the oldest brand name project of this big artist. It is believed that at this period the hagiographer was living in the monastery with the monk’s attribute and not simple as an iconographer. On the 3rd floor we can see the old refectory also decorated by Strelitza’s paintings, which has been also restored and now it is used as the official welcome area.Here you are going to see also the old ossuary and the little chapel of St Ioannis Prodromos. The origin of the monastery’s name Anapavsas (there you can rest) it is not known with the prevailing theory be the one that says that name refers to the position of the monastery which provides rest and peace to the visitor.

An ascenting path leads to the entrance of the monastery which starts from the parking area and takes you the roots of the rock. After that there are stairs which have been carved in the rock which replaced the old ascenting method,climbing rope ladder or refloating with the traditional net, because the high altitude rock made it exetremely dangerous and time consuming.