#94 Monastery of Tsouka

Location

The male Monastery of Tsoukas is located near the village Elliniko Ioanninon. It belongs to the region of the prefecture of Ioannina Katsanohoria and it's encountered if someone approaches Tzoumerkon area from the city of Ioannina.


Construction Data

The monastery has a fortress character with a stone spire (1866) and cells in the southwest and north side.

In the middle of the courtyard of the monastery there is a large cistern and around it are extending, in the southwest and north side, the monks cells. On the south side of the monastery is the chapel of the Virgin Mary that was destroyed by fire.


Historical Data

It was built in 1190 by Emperor Isaac Angelos, at an altitude of 760 meters, next to a cliff overlooking the magnificent canyon of Arahthos. He also built, in the same area, the Byzantine castle whose ruins are still preserved. Around 1730 the monastery was destroyed and built again in 1736.

According to the sacred tradition, at the rock 'Tsuka' was found the miraculous image of the Virgin. Residents wanting protect the painting, built a small church nearby and placed it inside. The next day, however, the picture went back and stood at the same point on the rock. This was seen as a miracle-will of the Blessed Virgin Mary and so the monastery was moved just above the place where the picture was.

It took its name from the top of the hill that it's built on, as "Tsiouka Analta" in Vlach means "high top". The Monastery Tsoukas played an important role in the Revolution of 1821. It is one of the most beautiful and important monasteries in Epirus. It is approximately 25 minutes drive from Ioannina and provides a wonderful view to the visitors- pilgrims.

On September 8, in the courtyard of the monastery takes place the traditional festival where crowds gather from the region of Ioannina.

 

Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

The "proud Tzoumerka" as mentioned by the folk music tradition, generously offers a plethora of pictures and colors to the visitor. They are characterized by the changes in the landscape and the very tall, snow-capped mountains. They feature un-spoilt natural environment and rich cultural tradition, a variety of historical monuments (archaeological sites, oracles) and museums. The traditional villages, traditions and customs, hospitality, traditional music and gastronomy meet the requirements of even the most demanding visitor.

The region of the Northern Tzoumerka has common historical, social, economic and cultural characteristics, however each village gives its own touch, its own distinctive feature, thus completing the fantastic mosaic called Tzoumerka.

At the villages one can find antiquities (remnants of walls, tombs, etc.), Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments (monasteries, churches), stone bridges (Sopatou (Syrrako bridge) the Filou (Kalarrytes), of Christon (Christs) etc.) houses (eg. Balomenou House in Ampelochori) and pre-industrial buildings (eg. watermill with the fulling and the mantania of Ad. Tsaktsiras in Pramanda). In each region the monastery-churches that stand out are: The Holy Monastery of Agia Paraskevi in Pramanda, the Church of Agia Paraskevi in Ampelochori, the Church Taxiarchis in Petrovouni, the Church of St. Nicholas in Kalentzi, the Monastery of Phaneromeni in Fortosi, the Church of Prophet Ilias in Daphnoula, the churches of Saint Vlassis and Assumption of Mary in Elliniko, the church of Zoodochou Pigi and the Temple of St.. Nicholas in Kalarrites. However there are many more remarkable churches-monasteries to visit.

Tzoumerka, apart from the historical-cultural interest, has obtained in the recent years loyal tourist admirersthatives which visit the area also for the numerous sport and outdoor activities that it offers. Hiking, mountain bike (easy and hard routes), canyoning (in Petrovouni and Paterou canyons), rafting and kayak (in Arachtos Kalarrytikos Aoo) are just some of the activities in which fans of alternative tourism can engage in. In addition, some of the most adventurous activities at the mountain is climbing, rappelling (rappel) and the air passage (flying fox), while alternative tourism companies in the region provide the opportunity to practice archery.



Finally, the area of Tzoumerka has many shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels and rooms to let, traditional market, shops selling local products and folk art, covering the requirements of even the most demanding visitor.