Roussanou Monastery

Kalabaka, Greece

The Monastery of Roussanou was founded in the middle of the 16th century. Compared to other rocks where monasteries were built, the one of Roussanou has a lower elevation, which makes it more accessible. The monastery was initially founded by monks and it suffered severe damage during World War II. It became a convent in 1988. The beautiful wall-paintings of the Catholicon were executed in 1560, when the priest-monk Arsenios was the abbot of the monastery. The unknown hagiographer seems to have been a very skilful artist and successfully follows the Cretan School style.

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Meteora, Kalabaka, Greece
See all sites in Kalabaka

Details

Founded: c. 1550
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anne Schmitt (5 months ago)
Woman at the entry was super rude. I was wearing a long black pants and a long sleeved blouse and I was not allowed to enter, as it had to be a skirt. I saw some women wearing almost see through skirts and they could go in... where is the point in this!?
Vasilis Triantafyllidis (5 months ago)
One of the must-visit Monasteries
Thorez Donatien (5 months ago)
Not worth 3e to get in. The entrance should be free when you have beautiful other monasteries like Varlaam. People working there were also rude.
Jessie W (5 months ago)
Not worth it! 3 euros for you to see basically nothing! The nuns have kept this monastery very beautiful, but you can’t access any of it, and also can barely see any of it. The nuns weren’t nice when we were asking for tips. The lady at the front was also really rude. Such a rip off and not worth it! Skip this monastery!
Njal Armin (5 months ago)
Cute little nunnery with flowery gardens and a stunning view out toward the other monasteries in northwest Meteora. They have frescoes that are several hundreds of years old depicting gruesome deaths and executions of Christian martyrs. There's also a small shop of you're looking for a good Meteora souvenir.
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

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The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.