During the early centuries of Christianity the Region of Himara has played an important role as being part of the Byzantine Empire. On the first millenia Himara was a member of the Despotate of Epirus and for some years it also played the role of the capital. During the Ottoman period the most serious problem for the Church was the massive return to Muslims.
Drymades, the second village of the province of Himara, is also the largest seaside village, considered a chivalric gemstone in the necklace of Himara region. The village houses painted in white, set up like a staircase to the side of the mountain and the belfries of churches, is distinguished not only for the mild climate and the magical coast, but also for the very large number of churches and for their monumental, ethnographic, aesthetic and historic values.
The village of Drymades has about 30 churches and three monasteries, of which the most famous is that of St. Mary's Monastery, located on top of the village.
Monastery and Church of Saint Mary (Panagia) is a pure white building, located on the peak over the village of Drymades with a very distinctive architecture. The basilica type church with a Byzantine-style dome and a single nave was built in the 14th century. Its interesting frescoes still in good condition were commissioned by the Archbishop of Himara and Delvina Ioannis in 1781. The old church of the Monastery serves as the communion area. The wall paintings that adorn the church clearly distinguish three stages of painting. In the past all the church premises had been painted. It is to be noted that these paintings spark tremendous intrinsic values, both ethnographic and artistic.
It is categorized as a First-Class Culture Monument by the Albanian government. It can be reached by a steep 15-minute climb from the National Road.