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This little 14th-century monastery, approached by a relatively gentle path, has splendid frescoes by the 16th-century Cretan painter Theophanes the Monk. Don't miss the delightful fresco of the Garden of Eden, with elephants, fantastic beasts, and all manner of fruits and flowers. A good painting of the death of St. Ephraim the Syrian shows scenes from the saint's life, including the pillar atop which he lived for many years in the Syrian desert.

In recent years, when I have visited Ayiou Nikolaos, no monks have been in residence; because tour buses often rush past here to get to the Great Meteoron, you may find that you have this spot all to yourself.