Monasteries dating back as far as 1356 sit perched on rocky monoliths that tower high above the haze in the valley below. Ancient cave dwellings, continuously inhabited for over 50,000 years, remain carved in to vertical cliff-sides as if in testament to the endurance of man. It’s no wonder that monastics seeking spiritual enlightenment and those searching for untouched isolation in this breathtaking setting have done so for millennia. It has a serene, otherworldly atmosphere that can make one forget that they are in fact in Central Greece. This is Meteora in Greece; a site of religious reflection for the Christian Orthodox and an unearthly and inspirational landscape that must be seen to be believed.
Best known for its monasteries which ‘float in the air’ (that, apparently is the translation of Meteora), the famous Greek UNESCO World Heritage Site is comprised of numerous religious complexes built on spectacular rocky outcrops; some of which are over 300 meters high. The rock-strewn landscape emerged approximately 25 million years ago as a result of tectonic movement. Subsequent weathering created cave-like openings in the rock-face, which became a shelter for hermits seeking spiritual isolation. Most amazing is that the early hermits, who made dwellings in the cliff-face, and then subsequently the monks and nuns who founded monasteries on the rocky pillars, accessed the remote and isolated spaces by means of perilously dangerous systems of ropes and ladders.