Built high in the mountains by Greek Orthodox monks to escape the Turkish raiders of the Ottoman empire, Meteora (translates to mean “above the heavens” or “suspended in the sky” ) is among the most important and largest monuments of the world and the most important in Thessaly.
When you enter Kalabaka you face the imposing giant rocks that have been standing there for many centuries (formed about 60 million years ago) protecting the monasteries from the invaders .
The impressive Meteora monasteries were built hundreds of years ago by monks who lived in caves in the area. The first hermit monks came to the inaccessible peaks of the rocks during the 11th century.
At the end of the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire’s 800-year reign over northern Greece was being increasingly threatened by Turkish raiders. So the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora seemed to be the most ideal refuge for the monks. The monks climbed higher and higher, finally building their monasteries atop the tall rocks. They had built 24 monasteries but today remain only six. 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.
In order to rich the ground or go up the monks used mechanism depicted in the above photo, rumor has it they were changing the ropes only after they broke , “when the Lord let them break”. Scary, no?
Now I have good news for you, in the 1920s were built roads and stone steps and you can rich the monasteries by staircases cut into the rock formations. I guess you are relieved now but make sure to wear comfortable shoes because there are too many stairs. Well, I didn’t.
Unfortunately during World War II and the Greek Civil War (1946 – 1949) the Metéora monasteries were looted and that wouldn’t happen if the monasteries had remained inaccessible, without steps and roads. But nowadays there are no longer invaders and you can simply enjoy the beauty of these monasteries.
After visiting the monasteries, you can make the hike back to the bottom while savoring the heavenly views, but if you are hungry and tired few km away is located the picturesque village Kastraki which is popular for it’s taverns. About 20 km away is located the city of Trikala which has also many options for nice taverns.
The closest city to Meteora is Kalambaka but I had booked a hotel in Trikala, it’s only 20 minutes drive from Meteora.
I stayed at the Ananti hotel. It’s a 5star hotel built on the top of a hill, so all the 18 rooms it has have amazing view.
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