On the lowest rock—thought an appropriate tribute to male superiority by the early monks (who first refused to have women in the Meteora)—the compact monastery of Ayia Barbara was the only nunnery in the complex centuries ago. With its colorful gardens in and around red- and gray-stone walls, it is a favorite for picture-taking. Set on a large mesa-like rock, the squat building was abandoned in the early 1900s and stood empty until a new order of nuns moved in some
years ago and restored it. The monastery was thought to have been founded in 1288 by the monks Nicodemus and Benedict. The main church has well-preserved frescoes dating from the mid-16th century. Most depict gory scenes of martyrdom, but one shows lions licking Daniel's feet during his imprisonment. The nunnery is accessible via steps and a new bridge.