Meteora is Greece for ‘Suspended in the air’. It is a group of monasteries that take you back to the artistic architectural marvels where people would go for retreat, prayer and meditation.

Meteora you gotta go here
Meteora you gotta go here

Meteora is Greece for ‘Suspended in the air’. It is a group of monasteries that take you back to the artistic architectural marvels where people would go for retreat, prayer and meditation. The monasteries illustrate the 14th and 15th centuries when the eremitic ideals of Christianity were restored in honor by monastic communities.

The Hanging monasteries were built under impossible conditions with virtually no roads. The monasteries’ precarious human habitations subsist to this day but due to time, they have become degraded. An interesting story that emanates from the monasteries is the fact that the pilgrims were hoisted on a net alongside the vertical cliffs on a distance of 373meters. Varlaam monastery dominates the valley and symbolizes a fragility of the fragile traditional way of life.

In the 14th century, there was a lot of political instability. This is the reason why monasteries were built on top of the peaks. The natural barrier formed by the mountains largely helped keep these monasteries safe. Of the 24 monasteries that were constructed up to the 17th century, 4 of them survive to this day. They include:

  • Aghios Stephanos
  • Aghia Trias
  • Varlaam
  • Meteoron

In addition to the four ‘hanging monasteries’ the area is also endowed with hills and river valleys. The forests contain endemic and rare species. Notable is the Trikala Aesthetic Forest that occupies a 28 hectares piece of land. The vegetation cover found here is described as ‘supra-Mediterranean’. In addition, you will beech forests above 700 meters.

Sample this; you live on the pinnacle of a mountain and whenever you require supplies, you have two options…you can either trek the treacherous mountain paths to the base of the mountain, or you ride the equally treacherous lift that is made of ropes and nets. That is the kind of stories you will hear during your tour of Meteora. You will definitely get some goose bumps riding the net, but the views are more than worth it. While touring these monasteries, you will realize that a lift is not a recent innovation, and that skyscrapers of the ancient world were built on top of a mountain.

 

 


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