Monastery of Áyios Nikólaos Anapafsás
After passing the little church of the Mitrópolis at Doupianí we come (on the left) to the steep ascent leading up to the monastery of Áyios Nikólaos Anapafsás, founded in 1368 and enlarged in 1628, with paintings of 1527 by the Cretan artist Theophanes.
Monastery of Rousanoú
Beyond the monastery of Rousanoú, perched on a slender pinnacle of rock - the most boldly sited of all the monasteries - the road to the Great Metéoron and Varlaám monasteries branches off on the left.The Rousanou Monastery was probably built in 1288 and renovated as a monastery in 1545. It contains frescoes of the Cretan School, made in 1560.
Great Meteoron Monastery
Standing below the Great Metéoron monastery, we can see on the rock faces the traces of the earlier ladders, and at the top the little tower-like building with a timber roof which still houses the windlass once used to haul visitors up in a net but now serving only to hoist up supplies. As a result of the increasing numbers of visitors considerable parts of the monastery have been closed to the public.Visitors are admitted to the principal church (open 9am-1pm, 3-6pm), dedicated to the Metamórfosis (Transfiguration). The chapel built by the founder, Athanasios, is now the sanctuary of the larger church erected by Joasaph. The tombs of the two founders are in the spacious narthex, which, like the body of the church (16th C.) and the apse (1438), has preserved its wall paintings intact.There is an interesting collection of icons and books in the former refectory (trápeza). Particularly notable is an icon of the Incredulity of Thomas (14th C.), which shows Christ and the Apostles together with the cruel Thomas Preljubovicá of Ioánnina and his pious wife Angelina Comnena.
Monastery of Varlaám
The nearby monastery of Varlaám, founded in 1517, has some lively paintings by Frangos Kastellanos of Thebes in the church of All Saints (Áyion Pánton), including an impressive Crucifixion (1548). In the narthex is a fine Last Judgment (1566). The monastery also has an interesting museum and library.You can reach the Monastery of Varlaám by climbing 195 steps. It was built by the brothers Theophanes and Nectarios, scions of a rich family from Janera, on the site of the old hermitage of the hermit Varlaam.The chapel of the Three Hierarchs was renovated in 1627.
Ayía Triáda & Áyios Stéfanos Monasteries
The monastery of Ayía Triáda (founded 1438) is near the attractive convent of Áyios Stéfanos, occupied by nuns. It was founded in 1367 by a Serbian prince, Antony Cantacuzene, and has frescoes of 1400 in its chapel. The principal church (Áyios Kharalambos) dates only from 1798.From the open space behind the church, on the edge of the crag, there are magnificent views of the plain of Thessaly, traversed by the river Peneios (Piniós).