Sacred Destinations: Varlaam Monastery, Meteora
In 1350, an ascetic monk named Varlaam climbed this great rock and settled at the top. He built three churches, a cell for himself and a water tank. No one chose to follow his lead, so after his death the site was abandoned.
The buildings fell into ruin for almost 200 years until 1517, when two rich priest-monks, Theophanes and Nektarios Apsarades from Ioanina, ascended the rock and founded a monastery. According to legend, they had to drive away the monster who lived in a cave on the summit before they could move in.
The brothers renovated Varlaam's church of the Three Hierarchs, erected the tower, and built a katholikon (1541-42) dedicated to All Saints. Using ropes, pulleys and baskets, it took 22 years to hoist all the building materials to the top of the rock. Once everything was at the top, the construction work took only 20 days.
Sacred Destinations: Roussanou Monastery, Meteora.
Rousannou (Ρουσανου) Monastery was founded around 1545 by Maximos and Ioasaph of Ioannina.