Meteora, Greece – Six monasteries in the middle of the sky
Meteora, Monasteries, Greece
Wikipedia describes: The Metéora (“middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” — etymologically related to meteorology) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The monks were the ones who kept the Hellenic culture arrive during the Turkish invasion. They preserved not just the religious tradition but the academics and arts as well. Without them, modern Greece would have mirrored the Ottoman empire. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
To get there by air, you can fly from Central Europe to Volos airport in Central Greece which is located in Nea Anchialos and then travel by car for approximately two hours to Meteora. You can also take the train or bus from Volos to Kalampaka, but it will take much longer. Or come by bus or train from Athens in about 4 to 5 hours.
Wikitravwel recommends here: The nearby towns of Kalampaka and Kastraki both offer different kinds of accommodation. Choose Kastraki if you want to stay close to the rocks, and also for the village atmosphere.
and they recommend to see the following attractions:
- Great Meteoron Monastery (Transfiguration of Jesus), Meteora. The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoro (Transfiguration of Jesus) is the biggest and oldest one of all, dating back to the 14th century. It was called the monastery that was “suspended in the air” (meteoro), because of the formation of the gigantic rock on top of which it was built. Entrance: 3€..
- Holy Trinity Monastery, Meteora. The Monastery of Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) is the most difficult to reach, but once you get to the very top the panoramic view of the surroundings is simply captivating! Entrance: 3€.
- Roussanou Monastery (Santa Barbara), Meteora. The Holy Monastery of Roussanou has received the name of the first probable hermit who settled on the rock. The main cathedral, celebrating the memory of Santa Barbara, was founded at the end of the 16th century and was decorated thirty years later. Entrance: 3€.
- St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery, Meteora. The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Anapafsas is the first Monastery that we encounter on our way to the Holy Meteora and was founded at the end of the 14th century. The monastery is only a short walk from Kastraki village just 1km away. Entrance: 3€.
- Varlaam Monastery, Meteora. The Holy Monastery of Varlaam is the second biggest monastery. It is located opposite of the Great Meteoro Monastery and it was founded in the mid 14th century by the exercitant Hosios Varlaam. Entrance: 3€.
- St. Stephen’s Monastery, Meteora. This is the most accessible monastery, where instead of steps you simply cross a small bridge to reach the entrance. It is ideal for visitors who cannot use the steps and yet they wish to have a real experience of a Meteora monastery. Entrance: 3€. edit
Inexpensive, mass produced icons may be purchased in the monasteries for as little as €1. They do not have the variety of the factories, however. The monasteries were not originally built for tourism. Tourism, essential to the monasteries survival, has also destroyed their character. They are no longer contemplative.
- Natural History Museum of Meteora and Mushroom Museum (Meteora Museum). A unique Museum with more than 300 embalmed birds and mammals and a great collection of mushrooms. It is a must-visit place, which provides the visitor with the opportunity to admire rear or even extinct birds and colorful mushrooms. In the Museum building, there is also a sophisticated cafe which offers even mushroom coffee and tea. Next to the cafe is the shop of the Museum, where the visitor can buy souvenirs and delicious mushroom products.