The Meteora: Agios Stefanos Monastery
St. Stephen's, or Moni Aghiou Stefanou, is the easternmost of the six surviving Meteora monasteries and the only one visible from Kalambaka. There is a walking trail towards Kalambaka from St. Stephen's but it hasn`t been used for many years and is now considered dangerous.
The monastic establishment was founded around 1400 AD by St. Antoninus Cantacuzene, who is thought to be a son of the Serb ruler Nicephorus II of Epirus, . I didn`t bother to visit this monastery, which is now a nunnery, as it occupies a less dramatic location than the others, although the views of the town, plains and distant mountains are excellent on fine days unaffected by heat haze.
The structure was heavily bombed during World War II and desecrated during the subsequent Greek Civil War. In the latter period, most of the surviving frescoes were defaced by Communist rebels. St. Stephen's lay virtually abandoned until 1961 when it became a nunnery. The monastery contains a small museum of vestments and other religious objects and there are various religious frescoes, some of which were left unscathed and date from the mid-1500s.
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