Next to the village of Loggades, opposite the mosques of the city of Ioannina, on the north-eastern side of Lake Pamvotida, is built the famous monastery of Panagia Durahani, or as the locals call it, Panagia Durahaniotissa. It was built by Durahan Pasha of Thessaly because in 1434 he spent the night with his army on the frozen lake without realizing it and considered it a miracle of the Virgin Mary (there was an icon of the Virgin Mary there). It is unknown when the monastery took its current form and in 1611 the Turks destroyed the religious monuments. A beautiful monastery whose geographical location offers a special charm. As soon as one sees it from afar, one feels the need to visit it, when one approaches it, one realizes the grace of the Virgin Mary touching him and his soul lightening.
Old stone monastery, with white chipped stone harmoniously linked with the landscape that hosts it. Its courtyard paved with the old terraces ready to rest the visitor. Old vines hang from the wooden loggias of the dilapidated cells. The old cypress leaning on the roof, shelters in its green leaves the multitudes of finches, who sing hymns to the Virgin together with the chanters. On the roof of the single-chamber bell tower, a nest houses a pair of storks. Under the large loggia, on an old horizontal floor joist, immediately after the front door, the visitor easily reads an inscription written in black legible letters: "Believe, love, forgive and move on with your life."
On the right side of the courtyard, there in the corner above the cistern, a small difficult path, between rocks, leads to the waja bushes. The little children of the countryside used to be sent by the village teacher to get laurels to weave wreaths for the national holidays. A short, kind-hearted nun was waiting for them to open the heavy, weather-worn front door of the monastery. On the left side of the courtyard under the towering and steep sharp rocks dominates the temple, dedicated to the birth of the Virgin. Built of white, thinned, grouted stone, with turned chiselled jambs on its front doors, covered with black slate, it has been resisting, among the holly trees, for hundreds of years now, in defiance of nature that wants to change everything. Blessed refuge, it offers balm to the aching and rest to the passing passerby.
The catholicon - a simple three-aisled church with a central shallow dome and elevated closed narthex - with frescoed walls and a carved wooden iconostasis, with the image of the Virgin Mary full of candles, with the silver candles always lit, evokes awe and admiration in the pilgrim, who comes to embrace the holy and miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. Outside the monastery grounds, the institution is housed and operated in a series of numerous buildings: elementary school, high school, boarding school, nursing home, libraries, reading rooms, recreation rooms.Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou