Just like Ioannina, Arta stands as a cradle of religious wonders, with famous monasteries dating back to the 13th century that survive to this day, worth visiting and admiring.
In the heart of Arta city and via a comfortable walk by the river you will reach the oldest church in the area with ceramic decoration, Agios Vassilios. Best combined with a visit to the nearby Castle of Arta, the former center of the city and the entire Despotate of Arta, a creation of Michael II, Despot of Epirus. Next, make a stop at the “Lady of Arta”, the Panayia Parigoritissa in the city center, with the surviving church, the bank and the 16 cells. Notice the pyramid made of columns that supports the dome on the inside of the temple.
While touring around the region of Arta you have the opportunity to visit some of the most important Monasteries in all Greece, such as the Panayia of Vlacherna in Vlacherna which dates to the end of the 11th century and truly shows the religious depth of the artisans in Arta. In the middle of Amvrakikos up on a hill lies another of the oldest temples, Panayia of Koronisia, built in the 10th century.
On the steep slopes of Kokkinolakkos in Tzoumerka, the Monastery of Seltsou with its temple and ruined cells welcomes visitors from all over. It was where the Zalongo events took place, where more than 1,000 trapped Souliotes in 1804 preferred to toss themselves into the abyss after a three-month siege instead of surrendering to Ali Pasha’s soldiers.
A true Eden’s garden, full of fragrances and joy awaits you at the Monastery of Kato Panagia at the foot of the Peranthi hill. Cheerful, kind nuns and flower gardens give a fairytale aura to the devoutful atmosphere.
Lastly, dedicated to the Birth of Virgin Mary is Panayia Chrysospiliotissa in Gouriana. It was renovated in 1663 and it includes the image of the Virgin Mary in a cave. Its exceptional architectural beauty influenced by Mt Athos, its wood-carved altarpiece and its frescoes from 1801 will certainly captivate your attention!