Mount Varassova
Caves and churches of Varassova
  Mount Varassova Mount Varassova is situated at the Southwestern part of the Prefecture of Aetoloakarnania, in the Municipal District of Chalkeia of the Municipality of Naupaktia. In the Byzantine period it was known as the “Holy Mountain of Aetolia”, as it developed into an important ascetic center from the 10th century onwards and in the years after the Ottoman conquest.
Among the caves-ascetic abodes the most renowned one is the cave of the Holy Fathers, bearing interesting frescoes of the 10th and 11th centuries, reflecting the art of the monuments of Cappadocia and Southern Italy. According to sholarly research, Varasova was situated on the course of the “big route”, which in the middle Byzantine period started from Trapezous in the Pontic region, passed through Constantinople and Thessaloniki and ended in South Italy.
It takes about two hours trecking and climbing to reack the cave of the Holy Fathers.
St. Nicholas of Varassova The Byzantine monastery of St. Nicholas of Varassova is built in a cave opening at the souther side of the Monastery of St. Nicholas of Varassova
mountain, between the villages Kato Vassiliki and Kryoneri. Access is possible from the sea and it takes an uphill trecking of about 20 minutes.
The monastery was deserted and it was restored recently, after meticulous excavation. It was a sturdy, fortification type of building with a long functioning life (9th-19th centuries). It consisted of a two-storeyed cell building with a passage at the entrance of the cave, from where one had access to a small plateau with a little single-aisled vaulted church, a blessed water depository and auxiliary rooms. Another cave, about 12 meters above the first one is particularly interesting, as it had a double role: it functioned both as refuge of the monks in cases of pirate attacks and as a space where monks could isolate themselves for meditation reasons.
The monastery is accessible to visitors by small boats from Kato Vassiliki and harbouring at the specially formed small harbour at the bottom of the rocky mountainside.
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