Above the town of Kalambáka, on the north-western edge of the Plain of Thessaly, the visitor encounters a breathtaking site of impressive monasteries “balanced” on massive detached stone pinnacles, 400 metres above the ground. Metéora is one of Christianity’s holiest places as well as a landscape of outstanding natural beauty. Thousands of visitors flock to this place every year, attracted by the daunting size of the rock formations where timelessness and beauty prevail, while they seek spiritual enlightenment far away from the earthly bustle.
The “stone forest” of Meteora is a perfect combination of natural and manmade landscape, practically inducing a sense of the transcendent. Visitors come here either to feel the aura of the contemplative seclusion of monastic life, and admire a truly unique natural landscape or to marvel at the outstanding architecture of the monasteries, the so-called “architecture of awe”.
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Metéora is the second largest monastic and pilgrimage area in Greece after Mount Athos. The first monks took refuge on these cliff tops fleeing an invading Turkish army around the 11th century. Several monasteries were built in the centuries that followed and all the building materials had to be winched up in baskets. Until 1920 this was the sole means for getting supplies up to the monasteries. According to numerous historical sources, there were once thirty religious communities but today only six of them remain and can be visited; other smaller monasteries, mostly built during the 14th century, are now deserted.
In the past, monks had to climb steep rocks to reach the monasteries but today you can follow the steps cut into the rock or ride up a special cable car. Action enthusiasts, however, should opt for climbing, the ideal way to get an adrenaline rush and enjoy the uniqueness of the landscape in the most exciting way!
Nature lovers should not miss the opportunity to hike through winding stone paths and gaze at a unique geological phenomenon formed as a result of a chain of erosions and geological changes over a period of 15 million years. In 1988 Metéora was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Whether you are a believer, a spiritual seeker or a cultural traveller, this emotive place will offer you the opportunity to commune with nature, taking you on an unforgettable journey in the most profound sense of the word.
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