7/8 July – The World Heritage-listed Meteora is an extraordinary place and one of the most visited in all of Greece. The massive pinnacles of smooth rock are ancient and yet could be the setting for a futuristic science-finction tale. The monasteries atop them add to the strange and beautiful landscape.
Each monastery is built around a central courtyard surrounded by monks’ cells, chapels and refectory.
The name Meteora derives from the Greek adjective meteoros, which means “suspended in the air”. From the 11th century, hermit monks lived in the caverns of Meteora. The earliest monasteries were reached by climbing removable ladders. Later, wind-lasses were used so monks could be hauled up in nets.
These days, access to the monasteries is by steps that were hewn into the rocks in the 1920s and by a convenient road.
We stay in Kastraki, Meteora Hotel on a quiet cul-de-sac below the rocks, with great breakfasts and incredible view to Meteora.
We visit Moni Agiou Nikolaou that is the nearest monastery to Kastraki, Moni Agias Varvaras Rousanou that is today home to an order of around 15 nuns, Moni Megalou Meteorou, the best known of the Meteora monasteries. This monastery is an imposing form built on the highest rock in the valley, 613 mt above the sea level. Founded by St Athanasios in the 14th century, it became the richest and most powerful monastery thanks to the Serbian emperor Symeon Uros, who turned all his wealth over to the monastery and became a monk. We visit some other monasteries than stop due to Renato reached his limits.