Even though Ayios Nikolaos Monastery is the first monastic complex you see and is accessed by a relatively unchallenging path, may travelers hurry on to the large, Megalo Meteoro, leaving this one relatively uncrowded. Its katholikon (church), built 1388, faces north rather than the usual east because of the rock's peculiar shape and the rock's small area precluded the construction of a cloister, so the monks studied in the larger-than-usual narthex. While the monasery
dates from the end of the 15th century, its superb frescoes are from the 16th century and the work of Theophanis Strelitzas. Though conservative, his frescoes are lively and expressive: mountains are stylized, and plants and animals are portrayed geometrically. Especially striking are the treatments of the Temptation and the scourging of Christ.