Proussous Monastery sits perched on the edge of a cliff face in Evritania, Central Greece. It is not a well-known, nor popular travel destination among International tourists, but for Greeks, this is one of the most important monasteries in the entire country.
Should you find yourself enjoying a getaway in the Karpenisi area, Proussos is a worthy stopping point on your itinerary.
A Little History of Proussos Monastery
The precise origins of Proussos Monastery are unknown, though it is believed that the monastery was constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. Prossous was one of several monasteries that stood in the Evritania region, though unfortunately many of the others no longer remain – worn away by time and the elements.
Proussos Monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Every August, hundreds of pilgrims trek to the monastery to celebrate the Dormition of the Virgin. However, visiting outside of this holiday generally means that you have the place pretty much all to yourself.
The monastery played an important role in more modern Greek history too. During the 1821 revolution, Greek soldiers rested here in their fight against the Turks and during World War II, members of the resistance stayed here while fighting the Italians. One section of the monastery has been converted into a museum containing recovered weapons and military items from this period.
Visiting Proussos Monastery
The wonderful thing about visiting Proussos Monastery is the fact that this site is not all that well known. As such, you don’t have crowds to contend with or tons of pesky tourists getting in the back of your photos.
Before heading into the Monastery itself, look out for the clock tower that sits across from it. You can climb up the weather-worn stone steps and walk right up to the entrance of the clock tower. From up here, you have incredible panoramas across to the mountains of Kaliakouda and Platanaki, as well as the perfect postcard view of the monastery itself.
Venturing Inside the Monastery
Proussos Monastery is a men’s monastery, but anyone can enter free of charge. You should dress conservatively (cover your shoulders and knees, no short shorts!) and enter quietly.
You can access several interesting parts of the monastery – including the chapel which boasts beautiful vibrant frescoes and Orthodox icons, and the study quarters of the monks. The courtyards offer sweeping views across Evritania.
During our visit, the monks were handing out complimentary snacks and drinks – strong Greek coffee (Elliniko), sweet loukoumi, and bread. We made a small donation and lit candles in honour of loved ones passed.
A short walk from the monastery itself, there is also the Chapel of Evresis – a cave that has been converted into a chapel and contains important icons of the Virgin Mary. Following the pathway that leads up the mountain just above the monastery will take you to two old stone watchtowers ( “Karaoulia”) that were built as defenses during the revolution.
Nearby Points of Interest
If you are visiting Prossous Monastery, chances are that you are doing so as part of a wider Karpenisi trip. The Evritania region of Greece is home to several picturesque traditional stone villages – Megalo Chorio, Neo Mikro Chorio, Gavros, etc. It is also worth stopping by the monastery’s namesake village of Prossous.
Prossous village is tiny. The centre consists of just one narrow cobbled street, with a small taverna and coffee shop that sit beneath a plane tree. The village is inhabited by just 15 elderly residents, though the mountain views that can be enjoyed from the village central square make Prossous village a worthy stopping point after visiting the monastery.
Prossous Monastery sits 28km away from the centre of Karpenisi. Unless you are on an organised tour, the only way to reach the monastery is via car or private transfer from Karpenisi. The road twists and turns along hairpin curves that overlook cliffs.
The journey from Karpenisi takes approximately 45 minutes, on account of how much the roads twist and curve through the mountains. The scenery en route is some of the most beautiful in Central Greece, and there are plenty of places to stop for photographs along the way.
Do you have any further questions about planning your trip to Prossous Monastery or Central Greece in general? I’ve been living in Greece for the last three years and I’m happy to help out with any further questions you may have. Feel free to drop me a comment below. Safe travels. Geia sou! Melissa xo