Travel to Meteora – Nature’s Mysterious Beauty
Travel to Meteora, Greece : Meteora, whose name originates from Meteor, is a sight to behold and cherish. Meteora provides one of the most strikingly beautiful sights in mainland Greece – six monasteries built atop naturally formed sandstone peaks standing out like suspended rock pieces. The peaks are as high as 4,000 meters and some of them so steep that they seem like rectangular objects jutting out from ground. If you’re headed to Meteora, here are a few things you can’t miss. Have you been before? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Travel To Meteora
Meteora was used by monks and nuns as the perfect peaceful haven to connect with their creator and forge an unbreakable bond. Byzantine hermits first settled in Meteora’s rock caves during the 11th century. However, when times became difficult during the Turkish occupation, the monks looked skywards for safety, literally and figuratively. They climbed higher above the rocks until they reached the pinnacles of the sandstone peaks. Ladders and baskets were used to move people and supplies and this method of movement continued till the 1920s. When a visitor asked how regularly the ropes were changed in order to ensure safety, the reply would invariably be “When the Lord lets them break”. During the 1500′s there were 24 such monasteries scattered throughout Meteora. The monasteries flourished until the 17th century after which they suffered a decline. Today, four of the six monasteries host monastic communities.
Meteora is Greek Orthodox Church’s second most religious site after Mount Athos. Infact, Meteora’s position as an important religious location was the result of Athanasios Koinovotis bringing his followers from Mount Athos to this beautiful and safe town. The monasteries are a treasure chest full of religious art, scriptures and libraries. The six monasteries are the following:
1) Agia Triada or Holy Trinity – Founded in 15th century, it displays wall paintings of Nikolaos and Antonios.
2) Varlaam Monastery – Founded in 1517, the monastery houses a large collection of crosses, icons, relics and other religious treasures.
3) Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas – Built in the 16th century, it houses several important religious paintings by Theophanis Bathas-Strelitaz
4) Roussanou Monastery – Founded in 1545, the monastery is home to several brilliant wall paintings. It is accessed through a bridge emanating from another peak.
5) Megalo Meteoro – It is built upon the highest rock and is the best known monastery. It houses several paintings and other religious treasures.
6) Agios Stefanos – It is the only monastery with a clear view of the Kalambaka plains. It houses the skull of Saint Haralambos, an important religious figure of Greece.
Meteora’s beauty and mystery has also been used as an inspiration by authors, filmmakers, poets and musicians. The 1981 Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only” used Meteora as a filming location, as did the makers of “Tin-Tin” and “The Golden Fleece”. Meteora was the inspiration behind American rock band Linkin Park’s widely sold album of the same name. Joseph Delany, a British author, has used Meteora as the main setting in his book called “The Spook’s Sacrifice”
The closest town is Kalambaka which has some medieaval churches. It is also where most visitors make their overnight stop when visiting Meteora. It was destroyed by German forces during WWII after which it was rebuilt and looks very modern. The Cathedral of the Dormition of Virgin is a centuries old basilica which is frequented by tourists stopping here.
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