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The Nunnery of St. Barbara Rousanou

Heading up from the village of Kastraki towards Meteora, nestled between the monasteries of Saint Nikolaos Anapafsas and Varlaam, lies the Holy Monastery of Rousanou. Perched atop an impressive rocky pinnacle, it overlooks the unique stone forest of Meteora, with the majestic mountain masses of Koziakas and Pindos in the backdrop. The monastery's name's origin remains shrouded in mystery, though one theory suggests it may have been named after the rock's first inhabitant or the proprietor of its initial temple.

The rock itself has been known as the rock of Rousanos since the early 16th century, when its founders Ioasaph and Maximos settled there. Initially established in the 14th century, the monastery was later reconstructed to assume its present form. In 1545, the Gianniot brothers erected the catholicon, which to this day is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior and venerates Saint Barbara.

The catholicon is a cruciform, dichronic, saint-type church with a liti (narthex with a dome), encompassing an almost square space topped by a slightly elliptical dome. The monastery complex comprises three stories, housing the catholicon and cells on the ground floor, reception areas (arhontariki), additional cells, and auxiliary spaces on the upper floors. Consecrated in 1560, it served as a sanctuary for numerous individuals during the nation's trials and tribulations.

Throughout the 19th century, the monastery experienced a decline and eventually became a retreat for the monks of Varlaam monastery. However, in the 1980s, it underwent restoration by the Archaeological Service of the region and now operates as a nunnery. Access to the monastery has evolved over time; once reliant on a windlass for ascent, today visitors ascend via a ladder and two sturdy bridges constructed in 1930, replacing the earlier wooden bridge erected in 1868.

Visitors should adhere to the monastery's dress code, which requires men to refrain from wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts above the knee, while women are expected to wear long skirts below the knee.

The Nunnery of St. Barbara Rousanou
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