Hello from one of the most amazing places on earth, Meteora! Today, with my travel companion Joanna, we took a day trip from Thessaloniki to see this amazing place. It would have been even better to take a two day trip to see more and to hike in the area. In one day, we were able to visit only two monasteries. Here are some highlights from our trip and a little bit of information taken from the local brochure.
Located in the Thessaly region in central Greece, Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for protection because of its important cultural and natural assets. The huge sandstone pillar-like formations that dominate the skyline are believed to have been created 65 million years ago. This wild natural landscape, home to a monastic community since the 11th century, hosts a collection of monasteries – all miracles of architecture and engineering – built on these precipitous peaks.
The area has more that 600 walking and hiking trails linking its 100-odd pinnacles. The gateway to Meteora is the neighbouring traditional village of Kastraki.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, there were 30 monasteries in this area, today only 6 of them are in use. It was the second largest monastic complex in Greece after Mount Athos.
Meteora is regarded as a holy place and many pilgrims visit this place for religious purposes. The first ascetics created small cells inside the caves that served as their hermitages. Later, first monasteries were built. The monks would access their monasteries with the help of stakes and ropes.
Today, when visiting one of the monasteries, tourists are asked to be dressed properly, long pants for men and skirts for women. If you are not wearing a skirt, they give you one at the entrance.
Monastery of St. Stephan:
Gorgeous frescoes inside the church:
Holy Monastery of Varlaam from a distance:
Holy Monastery of Rousanou, also called Monastery of St. Barbara:
This nun is painting souvenirs from Meteora on small rocks:
Holy Monastery of St. Nicolas Anapafsas with only one monk:
Here are my precious souvenirs made by the nun at St. Barbara Monastery. If you ever plan a trip to Greece, make sure you include Meteora, it’s one of the most unique places on our planet!