Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 39.949228, 20.684410

Monastery of Spiliotissa (Monastery of the Dormition of Virgin Mary)

At a landscape of rare natural beauty at the area of Aristi, exactly over the river Voidomatis is the Monastery of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, known as Spiliotissa. Its name comes from the way it is built, literally hanging from the tall steep rock, next to the caves of the rocks.

It was built in 1665, as the founding inscription informs us on the southern wall of the catholicon, by the monks Ioakeim and Sophronios, but on the same location where according to tradition there was a monastery during the Byzantine period. It flourished a lot, it possessed a remarkable property, and it was the spiritual and social centre of the area and financed the operation of schools. In the 19th century its property was appropriated by the Turks, its facilities were looted by the Turkish Albanians, while in 1897 it was destroyed by an earthquake.

The complex consists of tall, three-storied buildings of cells that create a precinct. They are built in a remarkable way, incorporating the rocks in several spots, formulating a lot of levels that connect to each other through stairs. On the eastern side, the edge of the rock, exactly opposite the river, stands the catholicon. The church is small, one aisled, with ellipsoid dome and its southern wall externally has ceramic decoration. Interiorly is richly decorated with wall paintings that according to the founding inscription were made in 1673 by the painters Ioannis, Dimitrios and Georgios. The screen is wooden carved and golden plated. Its upper part belongs to the initial construction, which dates from the 17th century, while the lower part is a work of the 19th century.

At the complex there is still a refectory, cookery, underground cellars, while some of the cells are built in the caves. At the highest point is the abbey, decorated with nature representations by the painter G. Anastasiou in 1874. Higher than the buildings, on top of a rock, there is the bell tower that is built with stones.

It used to be a men’s monastery but today it does not operate. 





Life-Giving Spring

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Under the Supervision of: 
Archaeological Service of Ioannina

Aristi 44004

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