Meteora Monasteries on the Meteora Suspended Rocks
Meteora is the Greek word for the suspended rocks, a name that attributes completely the spectacle you see when you reach the plain of Kalambaka and you see the imposing and stunning rocks. The Meteora monasteries rise at the central Greece, where River Pinios surges into the Thessaly plain. It is a breathtaking landscape, etched by time, wind and water into a variety of shapes.
Meteora Monasteries is one of the second most important groups of monasteries in Greece, after Athos. It is set in a region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks; the monks chose this unearthly place to settle their monasteries on the “columns of the sky” as they are called, from the 11th century onwards.
The monasteries on the Meteora rocks have been characterized by Unesco as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage and are included in the list of World Heritage sites.
These vertical rocks have also become a favorite destination for rock climbers, who follow the steps of the 11th century hermits when they were climbing the rocks in order to settle in the caves and fissures of the rocks. On Sundays, the monks would clamber down from their cells to celebrate the mass in Doupiani in Kalambaka.
Meteora and Kalambaka
The near town of Kalambaka that took its name from the Turkish word for pinnacle, stretches at the base of the Meteora rocks and monasteries. Kalambaka is a well developed town, providing accommodation for the overnight visitors.
The Monasteries of Meteora today
Twenty-four monasteries were built in the area of Meteora since the 11th century, when the first hermits settled in the area. More monasteries were built later during the 14th century despite the immense difficulties because of the particularities of the region. The Meteora monasteries flourished until the 17th century but only six of them survive today; four of these still host monastic communities.
Agia Triada Monastery is probably the most dramatically positioned monastery of the complex, as it is perched on the top of a delicate pinnacle, accessible only by 140 steep steps.
The Great Meteoron is the oldest of the six monasteries, founded in the 14th century. It is well preserved and very impressive, with a very important collection of frescoes and relics.
Varlaam Monastery is named after the monk who first built a tiny chapel on this pinnacle during the 14th century. It has a very elegant church frescoes dating back to the 16th century.
Rousannou Monastery was founded in the 16th century and is one of the most easily-accessible monasteries, since it is located on one of the lowest rocks of the complex.
The Monastery of St Stephen is the only monastery fully visible from the town of Kalambaka. It was founded around 1400 and is now a nunnery, with some really hospitable nuns.
Agios Nikolaos Anapaphsas Monastery is founded in the early 14th century, notable for its unique construction and the amazing frescoes dating back in the 16th-century by the Cretan painter Theophanes the Monk. A strict dress code is enforced for all monasteries: shoulders must be covered and men must wear long trousers while women must wear long skirts.
Visit Meteora Monasteries with our private taxi tours from Athens:
- 2-day private tour to Delphi and Meteora, private tour by taxi or minivan from Athens to Delphi and Meteora
- 4-day private tour to Thessaly and Peloponnese, private tour by taxi or minivan to Corinth, Mycenae, Nafplion, Ancient Olympia, Nafpaktos, Delphi and Meteora
- 7-day tour in Greece
- 10-day tour in Greece