At Tzoumerka, one has the opportunity to visit many stone-built monasteries of various architectural styles and rhythms, with their wood carved iconostasis and particularly old hagiographies. Elaborate precincts and breathtaking views complete the scenery at most of the cases.
The monastery of Kipina, built in 1212 in honor of the Dormition of Virgin Mary is the most impressive of the region. It is embedded within a vertical cliff in such a miraculous way that makes it hard to be traced from a distance. There used to be a drawbridge to secure the entrance of possible invasions and one can still visit the 240 m. deep cave, used back then, as a shelter for the protection of nearby residents.
The Monastery of Tsouka, not far from the village of Elliniko, is a wonderfully preserved monastery. It took its current form in 18th century, but its history dates back to 1190. It’s built on top of a steep, almost vertical cliff, with a panoramic view towards the Arachtos Gorge.
In order to visit the Monastery of Viliza, one has to walk a stone-paved path of 2km, near the village of Matsouki. The monastery is situated at an altitude of 1000 m., above the confluence of three tributaries of Arachtos, thus providing a panoramic view of the surrounding area. The monastery’s exhibits are on display in Matsouki’s primary school.
On the way to Melissourgi, just a few kilometers on the east of Pramanta, is situated the monastery of Saint Paraskevi. The monastery served as the headquarters of the famous Epirus fighter Ioannis Poutetsis, during the period 1908- 1912. The monastery’s history dates back to 1878 and its founder was monk Dionysios. One can attend the mass that takes place there once a year (in honor of the Martyrdom of Saint Paraskevi – 26th of July), but the monastery is also open to visitors all year round.
Designated as a monument of historic preservation, Saint George’s Monastery is the emblem of the village of Vourgareli and one of the most important sites in the mountain range of Tzoumerka. It was founded in c.1690 and restored in 1714. During the hard times of the Turkish rule, the monastery functioned as a source of offering and support for the entire local population. It is there that the scene was set for the revolt of the people of the area in 1821, which is how the monastery was given the name “Agia (Holy) Lavra of Hepirus”. Recently, a re-enactment of the declaration of the revolution has been taking place within the monastery precincts.
Only 3 km to the South of the village of Vourgareli, one can come across the Red Church. It is the only extant byzantine monument in the range of Tzoumerka, with some wonderful religious paintings, dating back to 1295, yet on the wane over the course of time. The church is dedicated to the Birth of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) and celebrates on September 8th.
The Holy Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Kalentzi, Ioannina, is a parish monastery, very old, since in the infrared of the entrance of the temple there is an inscription for renovation in 1620. The monastery is built with asymmetric stones and covered with stone slabs and the wall paintings are of 1630.