Meteora is one of the gems of Greece in Europe and second only to Mount Athos as being the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. It is a formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills like huge rounded boulders which dominate the local area.
Located near the towns of Kalampaka and Kastraki in northwestern Thessaly it consists of a number of rock pinnacles topped with a total of 24 monasteries. These immense, solid rocks, split by earthquakes, weathered by water and the wind over millions of years, are nature’s authentic masterpieces.
The Meteora monasteries have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Meteora-Antichassia region has been officially declared a Natura 2000 Ecological Zone by the Greek Ministry of Environment, for the protection of its rare species of birds and flowers.
History of Meteora
Emerging about 60 million years ago as the elevated seabed material that was the outcome of strong tectonic movements, continuous weathering by water, wind, and extremes of temperature turned them into huge pillars of rock. Much later they became shelters for men.
The first hermits arrived in this area to seek spiritual isolation and inhabited the caves of these rocks, with the sole aid of ropes and ladders. Common existential needs and strong religious faith compelled them to live united in the first monastic communities, their common drive of faith guiding them towards the unique construction of monasteries of the highest architectural and artistic value.
24 monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rocks from the 14th until the 16th century, 6 of them remain today to be explored and admired by all. These monasteries became centers of the Orthodox creed in the Byzantine era, having produced some of the best pieces of religious art and craft and still possessing a collection of precious manuscripts, which today are on display in their museums.