Meteora - monasteries in the sky

About Meteora - monasteries in the sky

The Meteora monasteries are built on rocky pinnacles, which tower 400m over the Peneas valley on the Thessalian plain. The small town of Kalambaka is located on one side and the village of Kastraki on the other with small roads and paths taking visitors up and around the still-inhabited and abandoned monasteries.

'Suspended in the air' (the meaning of Meteora in Greek), these monasteries represent a unique artistic and engineering achievement and are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation and prayer. The 11th century saw the first hermits arrive in the area and build the Skiti (hermitage) of Doupiani. Over the next 600 years twenty four monasteries in total were built, which, given the geography of the area, was no mean feat! There were no passable roads and pilgrims had to be hoisted up the cliff in a net to reach the monasteries.

Today, only four monasteries - Aghios Stephanos, Aghia Triadas, Varlaam and Megalo Meteoron - still house religious communities.

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