Meteora

The Rocks of Faith

The Incredible Rock Formations "Meteora", Photo Attribution: iStock.com | eugen_z

When nature has inspiration, it creates masterpieces like the phenomenon of Meteora, one of the unique places in Greece. When you look at them, you feel so weak in front of the power of nature. So small and insignificant in comparison to the creator of enormous sculptures, like those smooth rocks standing between Antichasia Mountains and Koziakas Mountain, straight above the city of Kalampaka [the ancient city Aeginio or, later, Stagi (9th Century A.C.)]. This nature was complemented, around 1000 AC, with the intuition of humans, who tried to go closer to the hands of God through ascetic life and imminent prayer. Some humble people chose this special place to create a monastic community with many residents. These people, in the course of time, to satisfy their biological and spiritual needs, constructed 24 monasteries at the top of the rocks, there where eagles used to nest, to test their faith. This important combination of natural and manmade environment led UNESCO, in 1989, to award this monument as a World Heritage Monument under preservation. Today, only 7 monasteries are operational, and the rest are ruins.

Panagiotis | Shiny Greece

Meteora Map.jpg

The important combination of the natural and manmade environment of Meteora led UNESCO, in 1989, to award this monument as a World Heritage Monument under preservation. Today, only seven monasteries are operational, and the rest are ruins. This stunning area attracted, as expected, also, the 7th Art industry, for example the documentary “Meteora” of Josef Hep in 1923, the movie “The Illegals” of Nikos Koundouros, the movie “Meteoro and Shadow” of Takis Spetsiotis, and of course the James Bond (Roger Moore) movie “For Your Eyes Only” of John Glen in 1981. In 2014, the American magazine “Buzzfeed” characterized Meteora as one of the 16 most beautiful places in the world. Meteora is also very attractive for rock-climbers and rappellers. However, they often come into conflicts with the monks, because of the holiness of the monument and the area, so local authorities seek to find a solution on the matter. The area has several other important sights. One of them is the rare (on a scientific basis) cave of Theopetra with the very interesting Museum. The cave has findings that show the transition from Neanderthal to Homo Sapiens (Paleolithic to Neolithic era). Another significant monument of the area is also the highly recognized Byzantine temple of Kimisis of Theotokos with the unique marble pulpit. Moreover, from Meteora, the visitor can easily approach the mountain Koziakas, with the traditional villages of Aspropotamos, the city of Trikala (with ancient Trikki). In 2015, out of several traditional mountainous villages and multicultural cities, the famous website culturetrip.com chose 10 cities that visitors must see. One of those was Kalampaka. Important people of the area were Agios Athanasios Meteoritis (who gave his name to the rocks) 1355 AC, Vasilis Tsitsanis the famous great rebetiko singer, the rebetiko composers Kostas Virvos and Apostolos Kaldaras, the famous singers Dimitris Mitropanos, Giorgos Margaritis, and Leonidas Kavrakos, the big athletes Christos Papanikolaou and Sofia Sakorafa.

International visitors of Meteora are served by the international airport of Thessaloniki (SKG).

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