Mystical, Magical & Magnificent Monasteries in Meteora (20 Pics)

February 23rd, 2011 Permalink

In Meteora, Greece, six magnificent monasteries still exist, precariously perched atop 1,300 feet high sandstone pinnacles. Hermit monks constructed the first monastery before nuns came to build too. Access to each monastery was crazy, a leap of faith, climbing rocks, and ladders lashed together or large nets until the ropes would break. The bizarre but beautiful monasteries of Meteora are centuries old and isted by UNESCO World Heritage. We love these 20 pics of Meteora.

Meteora Greece

The caves in Meteora, Greece, had inhabitants for fifty millennia, but due to raids, “hermit monks” moved to the safety of sandstone rock pinnacles in the 9th century and began building monasteries. More monks and nuns came, building more monasteries perched high upon the cliffs. Wikipedia reports, “Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith — the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only ‘when the Lord let them break.’” UNESCO World Heritage says, “The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 1,224 ft. cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction.” Photo #1 by Vaggelis Vlahos


A view of Meteora, Greece

A view of Meteora monasteries in Greece. You can’t see them all, but if you squint and turn your head just so…you can make out these: On the far left, perched precariously upon a cliff is the Nunnery of Roussanou; in the middle is the Village of Kastraki; the high rock to the right of the village is Doubiani Rock; to the right of that is the Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas; and on the upper right is the Great Meteora Monastery. Nowadays there are staircases carved into the rocks. Only 6 monasteries are still intact, and of those, only Holy Monastery of St. Stephen is inhabited by nuns. Photo #2 by Gabriele Quaglia

Meteora Holy Trinity, Agia Triada monastery

Meteora Holy Trinity, Agia Triada monastery, was built in 1475 and since remodeled many times. Meteora is bizarre but so beautiful. Photo #3 by Charalampos Konstantinidis

Greece - Meteora Varlaam Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Varlaam is the second largest monastery in Meteora, Greece. This church is dedicated to All Saints. Photo #4 by eliaslar

Meteora - The nunnery of Roussanou

Meteora – The nunnery of Roussanou was built during the 16th century and remodeled and decorated as recently as 1560. ;-) Photo #5 by Gabriele Quaglia

Meteora - The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen

The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen is the only monastery in Meteora that was not built high upon a cliff. Instead, this small church is considered build upon a “plain” in the 16th century and decorated in 1545. During WWII, the Nazis became convinced that St. Stephen’s was harboring insurgents; the Nazis attacked and damaged the monastery. It was abandoned until nuns took it over and reconstructed it. Photo #6 by Dido3

Meteora Varlaam

The Holy Monastery of Varlaam in Meteora. The photographer wrote, “Varlaam was a hermit who first lived on this pinnacle of rock about 1350, delving a few cells and building a small church to the Three Taxiarchs. In 1548 the current monastery was built under the direction of the brothers Theofanis and Nectarios Apsarades from Ioannina, who devoted their family’s wealth to the project. The stairs giving access to the building were only built in 1923, breaking the centuries-old isolation of the monastery.” Photo #7 by Gabriele Quaglia

Meteora - The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas

Meteora – The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas. Photo #8 by Dido3

Meteora - jumping from high clifftop

Meteora – jumping from one high clifftop to another. Maybe the monks were into extreme sports? Photo #9 by Mr. Theklan

Meteora

Monastery in Meteora, Greece. Photo #10 by Wentuq

Great Meteoron & Varlaam

Meteora Monasteries – Great Meteoron & Varlaam. Photo #11 by Jaime Perez

The Holy Monastery of St Nicholas Anapausasby in Meteora

Another shot, a different angle of the Holy Monastery of St Nicholas Anapausas in Meteora. Photo #12 by Takeaway

meteora monastery, world heritage site

Meteora Monastery – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo #13 by alaskapine

modern day monks mode of transport in Meteora

Modern day monks mode of transport at the Great Meteoron Monastery in Meteora in order to avoid the steps and tons of tourists. Photo #14 by Gabriel

Monastery in Meteora, Greece

Monastery in Meteora, Greece. Photo #15 by Marina & Enrique

Meteora - Between Heaven & Earth

Meteora – Between Heaven & Earth. Photo #16 by Antje

Approaching Meteora under moonlight

Approaching Meteora under moonlight. The photographer noted, “A group of natural stone pillars, up to 400m high, home to six monasteries built on top of them. A Unesco World Heritage site. The lights below Meteora are from the town of Kalambaka.” Photo #17 by Prodromos Sarigianis

 Meteora silhouette

Meteora silhouette, taken from the village of Kastraki. Photo #18 by John & Mel Kots

Meteora Greek-Orthodox monasteries, Greece. Photo #19 by Wisniowy

Meteora and the village of Kastraki with misty background. Photo #20 by NickChino


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