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The Holy Monastery of Saint Nikolaos of Anapafsas or Agios Nikolaos is the first active Monastery we encounter on our way to Meteora and was founded at the end of the 14th century.
For the name Anapafsas there are numerous interpretations two of which are the most popular. The first one is that the name Anapafsas was attributed by one of the monastery’s benefactors, while the second explanation has to do with the monastery’s position being the first on the way and probably served to the pilgrims as a resting place before continuing on. Resting translates into Greek anapafsis, so Saint Nicholas of Anapafsas literally means Saint Nicholas the one who rests you.
The limited surface of the rock forced the builders of the monastery to built it vertically on floors, one level on top of the other! Access to all the different floors is achieved through an inbuilt staircase. At the entrance of the Monastery lies the Church of St. Anthony and the crypt where the codes and the monastery’s heirlooms were previously stored. On the walls, paintings of the 14th Century can be seen.
The Catholicon, where St. Nicholas is honored, is on the second floor and it is elongated and stuck on to the south side of the wall of the monastery. The dome of the church is low and has no windows. The Holy Table rests on the third floor, decorated with murals. The Table, recently restored, is used as a reception area for the visitors. There is even the ossuary, the cells of the monks and the chapel of St. John Prodromos. Since space is restricted and there is no courtyard, the monks could only gather in the narthex, which was roomy, when there were no liturgies in the nave.
Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 17:00.
The monastery stays closed on Fridays.
Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 17:00, Sundays: 09:30 to 16:00.
The monastery is open every day.