Place of the day: Metéora, Greece, a Combination of Peaceful and Breathtaking Views of NatureSeptember 28, 2011 No Comments
If you are a person who loves to see the magnificent world from the high places, then you should go to Metéora in Greece, one of the mountain’s awe-inspiring sights. Metéora in Greek literally means “suspended in the air”, “suspended rocks”, or “in the heavens above”. As you arrive in the area, you will be welcomed by a group of gigantic rocks rising up out of the trees in the Pinions Valley, and the most important site to see there is 6 monasteries built mostly on high cliffs. Metéora is a largest and most important complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in GreeceMust Try Greek Foods and Drinks!. Read more ... », after in Mount Athos. Metéora is listed as one of UNESCOLeshan Giant Buddha, The World's Tallest Stone-carved Buddha Site | China. Read more ... » World Heritage Sites.
Located near the town of Kalambaka, 375 km northwest of AthensBest Places To Go in Athens, Greece. Read more ... », Metéora boasts 64 gigantic rocks, impressively forming rock towers reaching until 550 meter (1800 ft) above the plain. The rocks are a result of combination of sandstone and hard gravel called conglomerate. The first hermits settled there in the 11th century. According to history, at the end of the 14th century, when Turks conquered northern Greece, hermit monks seek for a retreat and they found an ideal place to be safe in Metéora.
There were 24 monasteries built and only 6 still inhabited. They are The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron (Megalou Meteoron), The Holy Monastery of Varlaam (Varlaam or Barlaam), The Holy Monastery of St. Barbara (Roussanou), The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas (Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas), The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen (Agios Stefanos), and The Monastery of Holy Trinity (Agia Triada or Agios Triados). Four monasteries (Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Agios Nikolaos, and Agia Triada) are inhabited by monks while the rest 2 (Roussanou and Agios Stefanos) are by nuns. To reach the monasteries back then was very difficult. It required long ladders lashed together then replaced with large nets and rope used to haul up both goods and people which lasted until 17th century.
VISITING THE MONASTERIES
1. Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron (Megalou Meteoron)
Great Meteoron is the biggest of the meteorite monasteries built by Agios Athanasios at around 1340. Great Meteoron today is used as the museumPlace of The Day: Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Museum), Istanbul, Turkey. Read more ... » for tourists. There are several spots you can enjoy here such as The Tower (1520), Folklore Museum, the ossuary, the church of Transfiguration of Jesus, the Holy Altar. Great Meteoron monastery opens daily (except on Tuesdays) from 9am-1pm and 3pm-6pm.
2. Holy Monastery of Varlaam
Varlaam Monastery (or Barlaam) takes the name after a monk who built this tiny chapel back in the 14th century. After his death, the monastery remained empty, until two priest-monks from Ioanina came and found the monastery in 1517. Both renovated the buildings and built a Katholikon dedicated to all Saints. Opens daily except on Friday (and also Thursday in winter), from 9am-1pm, 3.30pm-6pm.
3. Holy Monastery of St. Barbara (Roussanou)
Roussanou was first founded in 1545 and dedicated for Saint Barbara. Roussanou is located lower than other monasteries in Metéora, and is occupied by nuns. Dramatic scene is what you can expect here, as the building is located really at the edge. Accesible by bridge, Rousannou covers the whole surface of the rock. This 3-story building consists of the church for the first story, and the rest 2 stories are house and guest quarters, reception halls, an exhibition room, and more cells. It opens daily except on Wednesday from 9am-1pm and 3pm-6pm.
4. Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas (Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas)
Based on the frescoes of St. Anthony chapel inside Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas, this monastery was found in the 14th century. Just like other monasteries, in the early years it was found, it was reachable by monks using the traditional net and ladders. It was totally renovated in 1510, abandoned in 1900, restored in 1960s, and finally operating again in 1997. It opens daily from 9am-5pm (on summer) and on winter is closed.
5. Holy Monastery of St. Stephen (Agios Stefanos)
Agios Stefanos was found in 1400s by Saint Antonius Cantacuzene, son of the Serb ruler Nicephorus II of Epirus. Agios Stefanos is visible from Kalambaka and is the easiest monastery to go, compared to other monasteries. Visitors can go there by the bridge from main road or Agios Triadhos path if hiking. Inside the building there is an old Katholikon, rebuilt and frescoed in 1545. There is also a small museum and some religious items or even handmade embroideries made by the nuns. It opens daily except on Monday from 9am-1pm, continued again at 3pm-5pm (3pm-6pm on Summer).
6. Monastery of Holy Trinity (Agia Triada)
One more peaceful monastery in Metéora, Agia Triada is well-known through James Bond’s movie “For Your Eyes Only” in 1981. Agia Triada is located on a typical imposing and steep rock, accesible through 140 steps which makes it the most dofficult to reach. According to the script of Simeon Ouresi-Paleologou, Agia Triada was an organized monastery since 1362. Inside there is a church built in 1476 and a church with a dome consisting a sanctuary, the nave, and the narthex. It opens daily (except thursday) from 9am-12.30, 3pm-5om.
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