The Meteora monasteries in Greece

Monday, 9 January 2012 - 01:57 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Meteora Panorama © Exwhysee

Meteora Panorama © Exwhysee

The Metéora (“suspended rocks”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” – etymologically similar to “Meteorite”) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern 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 nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Only six of the originally 24 monasteries remain today. Of these six, four were inhabited by men, and two by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions.

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”. In the words of UNESCO, “The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 373 metres (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.”. In the 1920s there was an improvement in the arrangements. Steps were cut into the rock, making the complex accessible via a bridge from the nearby plateau.

Holy Monastery of St Stephen © Janmad Panoramic view of the City of Kalambaka © Danimir Monastery of the Holy Trinity © Napoleon Vier Holy Monastery of Varlaam © Dido3 Holy Monastery of St Nicholas Anapausas © Dido3 Holy Monastery of Rousanou-St Barbara © Dido3 Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron © Fingalo Meteora Panorama © Wisniowy Meteora Panorama © Exwhysee
<
>
Panoramic view of the City of Kalambaka © Danimir
The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th century, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos (mother of God). By the end of the 12th century, an ascetic community had flocked to Metéora. In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Metéora. From 1356 to 1372, he founded the great Meteoron monastery on Broad Rock, which were perfect for the monks; they were safe from political upheaval and had complete control of the entry to the monastery. The only means of reaching it was by climbing a long ladder, which was drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened.

At the end of the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire’s 800-year reign over northern Greece was being increasingly threatened by Turkish raiders who wanted control over the fertile plain of Thessaly. The hermit monks, seeking a retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation, found the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora to be an ideal refuge. More than 20 monasteries were built, beginning in the 14th century. Six remain today. There is a common belief that St. Athanasius (founder of the first monastery) did not scale the rock, but was carried there by an eagle. In 1517, Nectarios and Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaám, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.

Read more on meteora-greece.com, Wikivoyage Meteora and Wikipedia Meteora. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Băile Tușnad in Transylvania

Băile Tușnad in Transylvania

[caption id="attachment_153738" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Băile Tușnad © Aakmaros/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Băile Tușnad is a town in Harghita County, Romania. It lies in the Székely Land, an ethno-cultural region in eastern Transylvania. The town and the surrounding area are famous for their spas and mineral waters received from seven springs. Nearby is the Lake Sfânta Ana, a famous volcanic crater lake, the only one of its kind in Romania. With a population of 1,600, it is the smallest town i...

[ read more ]

Historic centre of Córdoba

Historic centre of Córdoba

[caption id="attachment_237303" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Historic centre of Córdoba © Jose María Ligero Loarte/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The historic centre of Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. In 1984, UNESCO registered the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba as a World Heritage Site. A decade later, it expanded the inscription to include much of the old town. The historic centre has a wealth of monuments preserving large traces of Roman, Arabic, Islam, and Christian time...

[ read more ]

The Royal Opera House Muscat

The Royal Opera House Muscat

[caption id="attachment_161993" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Avik W/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) is Oman's premier venue for musical arts and culture. The opera house is located in Shati Al-Qurm district of Muscat, Oman. Built on the royal orders of Sultan Qaboos of Oman, the Royal Opera House reflects contemporary Omani architecture, and has a capacity to accommodate maximum of 1,100 people. The opera house complex consists of a concert theatre, auditorium, formal landscaped ...

[ read more ]

Eichstätt in Upper Bavaria

Eichstätt in Upper Bavaria

[caption id="attachment_234055" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Market Square -wuppertaler/cc-© by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Eichstätt is a town in the federal state of Bavaria, Germany, and capital of the district of Eichstätt. It is located on the Altmühl river and has a population of around 13,000. Eichstätt is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Eichstätt. Eichstätt lies on both sides of the river Altmühl in the district of Eichstätt of the Upper Bavaria region of Bavaria, in the heart of Altmühl...

[ read more ]

Ghent University

Ghent University

[caption id="attachment_241694" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Daniuu/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Ghent University (Dutch: Universiteit Gent, abbreviated as UGent) is a public research university located in Ghent, Belgium. Ghent University consists of eleven faculties with over 130 individual departments. In addition, the university maintains the Zwijnaarde science park and Greenbridge science park. Located in Flanders, Ghent University is one of the largest Belgian universities, consisting of 50,000 stud...

[ read more ]

Les UX in Paris

Les UX in Paris

[caption id="attachment_4385" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="Pantheon in Paris © Manfred Heyde"][/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The UX (for Urban eXperiment) is an underground organization that improves hidden corners of Paris. Their works have included restoring the Panthéon clock, building a cinema, complete with bar and restaurant, underneath the Trocadéro, restoring medieval crypts, and staging plays and readings in monuments after dark. The group's membership is largely secret, but its spokespeople include Lazar Kun...

[ read more ]

The port city of Livorno

The port city of Livorno

[caption id="attachment_160610" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Teatro Goldoni © Lucarelli[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Livorno is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009. The Venice district retains much of its original town planning and architectural features such as the bridges, narrow lanes, the noblemen's houses and a dense network of canals which once linked the port to its storehouse...

[ read more ]

Walton-on-the-Hill in Surrey

Walton-on-the-Hill in Surrey

[caption id="attachment_236225" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Walton Manor © The Voice of Hassocks[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, is a village in England midway between the market towns of Reigate and Epsom. The village is a dispersed cluster on the North Downs centred less than one mile inside of the M25 motorway. The village hosts the Walton Heath Golf Club, whose former members include King Edward VIII, Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George. The M25 motorway, less than a mile from the cen...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Friuli Venezia Giulia - Pordenone

Theme Week Friuli Venezia Giulia - Pordenone

[caption id="attachment_223884" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Palazzo Ricchieri - Museo Civico d'Arte © Geobia/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Pordenone is the main comune of Pordenone province of northeast Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. The name comes from Latin Portus Naonis, meaning 'port on the Noncello River'. The town has many mansions and palaces, in particular along the ancient "Greater Contrada", today Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (wonderful example of Venetian porticoes and called by some small "wa...

[ read more ]

Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar

Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar

[caption id="attachment_165211" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Rudolf Klein/cc-by-sa-3.0-de[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar houses a major collection of German literature and historical documents. The library contains 1,000,000 books, 2,000 medieval and early modern manuscripts, 600 ancestral registers, 10,000 maps, and 4,000 musical scripts. The research library today has approximately 850,000 volumes with collection emphasis on the German literature. Among its special collections is an ...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
Sardinia Montage © GaiusCrastinus
The Mediterranean island of Sardinia

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus). It is an autonomous region of...

© desertec.org
The Desertec concept

DESERTEC is a concept proposed by the DESERTEC Foundation for making use of solar energy and wind energy. This concept...

Reykjavík - Hotel Borg built in 1930 by architect Guðjón Samúelsson © TommyBee
The Republic of Iceland

Iceland is a European island country in the north Atlantic Ocean on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has a population of...

Close