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Monastery of Kipina

Near Kalarrytes, over the gorge of the river Kalarrytikos, at the entrance of the cave of the vertical rock is built one of the most impressive monasteries in Epirus. It is the Monastery of Kipina, which is said that it was named thus by the gardens (kipos in Greek) that its monks grew in the surrounding area. It is a men’s monastery, dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary but it celebrates on Bright Friday, feast day of Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Source).
 
Μention that it was founded in 1212 by Archbishop Grigorios, even though there is a view that it was founded in the 13th century by monks of the nearby monastery of Vyliza. The monastery flourished during the 18th century and its monks were active in social work. As a matter of fact, it is well known that in 1760 its abbot Kallinikos offered money for the construction of a bridge.
 
During the Turkish occupation, according to tradition, there was a secret school operated there, while the cave that was at the rock was used as a refuge by the people of the area. In the 19th century the monastery was abandoned and in 1931 it became the metochi of the monastery of Tsouka.
 
Access to the monastery takes place through a path that is carved on the rock and a hanging wooden bridge, which monks used to lift when they wanted to prohibit access. The catholicon has as a roof the natural rock, which has been carved in such a way in order to create a dome. It is a small, single-aisled basilica with a narthex and at its interior there are wall paintings that date from the end of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th century. The golden-plated, wooden screen and the icons of Ioannis from Sagiada are works of the 18th century.
 
From the portico of the church starts the cave with the stalagmites and stalactites, which reaches the 240 meters long, but no visitors are allowed. The cells are fully renovated, shaped with wooden extensions and they create an excellent architectural complex with two levels, fully harmonious with the rock.
 
To visit the Monastery you must request the keys from the cafe in the settlement of Kipina.