The Holy Monastery of Kipina is located in Tzoumerka, Ioannina. It is one of those monasteries that will leave you speechless with the natural landscape surrounding it. Being part of a steep vertical rock, inside which the monastery was carved, the first thing you will feel as you lift your gaze and face it will be nothing but absolute awe. So, let’s learn about the long history it carries, but also admire the immersive scenery that surrounds it.
With a name inspired by the small gardens that the monks took care of on its outskirts, the holy monastery of Kipina is undoubtedly a monastery that your visit to its sacred site will be unforgettable. Located completely inside a rocky cavity, the combination of its impressive curved construction and the stunning natural environment with its verdant vegetation will flood you with a multitude of images and emotions.
The good road reaches the monastery at the root of its rocks. From then on, you will need to follow the uphill alley that carves through the stones and leads to your entrance point to the monastery. The view of the Kalarrytiko River will once again take your breath away, and this time, you will cross the area successfully.
Before entering the monastery, you will come across a historic wooden bridge. During the Turkish occupation, this bridge was designed with innovative engineering and a lever that created a gap of a few meters, leaving the cliff uncovered. This feature became the salvation for the monastery, which was affected by attacks from robbers who were looking for their prey in its parts.
Kipina Monastery: A highly ascetic interior
Anyone who visits the monastery will feel the diffuse serenity that the interior exudes. The small rooms, which fill with natural light entering through their wooden windows, create a space that serves as an attraction for hikers. The rooms have low beds and traditional carpets of beautiful Epirus. The monastery was abandoned during the 19th century. Keep in mind that at certain points, you will have to bend down to cross the slope of the rock.
In the central church of the single-aisled basilica monastery with the rocky roof, you can admire hagiographies that date back more than four centuries. However, several sacred relics were stolen in the 1970s. When you exit the temple, you will find the entrance to the approximately three hundred meters cave of Kipina hidden. The cave has an environment full of stalagmites and stalactites and once served as a shelter. However, it is not open to visitors today.
During the 18th century, the Monastery experienced its greatest prosperity and performed important social work. Additionally, a secret school operated on its lands during the Turkish occupation.
Kipina Monastery: The history of its construction
The history of the monastery’s construction is shrouded in mystery, and there are different scenarios surrounding its foundation. According to the first estimate, Archbishop Gregory founded the monastery dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in 1212. However, there is a myth that the foundation of the monastery dates back to the 13th century when monks of the nearest monastery of Vyliza noticed a flash of light at night. Following the light, they discovered that its source was due to an icon of the Virgin Mary in the rocks. They then decided to build the monastery in that exact place spot.
To know: The monastery during the summer months remains open from morning to early afternoon, if you find it closed, you can get its keys from the café in the village of Kalarrytes.
How to get to Kipina Monastery: The monastery of Kipina is about 70 km from the city of Ioannina, you will find it on your way to the village of Kalarrytes. Remember that although the scenery is magical, on the road you will encounter several turns.
The Holy Monastery of Kipinas is definitely one of the stops that you should make if you find yourself visiting Ioannina, so put it in your next travel program.