Travelling Wizards Travel Magazine religious tourism - Greece, Meteora monasteries, history, travel information, sightseeing, pilgrimage.
Meteora - The Sacred Monasteries
There are many unique place on all over the World, but one of them takes the breathe – Meteora – one of the most attractive and memorable places in Greece!
Meteora is a surreal place. The word Meteora means "suspended in the air“. It is located in northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly and where the plain of Thessaly ends, gigantic rocks raise. On the tops of these rocks were built a total of 24 monasteries. The rocks, on which monasteries are located, were formed about 30 million years ago. Rock pillars, which number is around 60, are composed of sandstone and conglomerate and stand up to 300 meters /984 feet/ high. Initially there was a sea that constantly washed sand, and finally created these strange formations.
The sea finally receded and allowed the rocks to excel in all their glory. Since the beginning the rocky peaks are considered to be some kind of a magical place.
Originally the area of Meteora was settled by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th Century.
At the end of the 14th century during the Turkish occupation the hermit monks found the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. 24 monasteries were built – six remain today. Of these six, five are inhabited by men, one by women.
Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. A legend says that St. Athanasuius – the founder of the first monastery was carried on the top of the rock by eagle an did not scale the rock. Access to the monasteries was deliberately difficult, provisions and people were delivered by baskets.