Meteora Greece: A Conglomerate of MonasteriesMonasteries | December 11, 2010
Meteora is a Greek word that means “hanging from air”. Meteora Greece is a group of rocks that gradually withered and a number of peaks were formed over time. A number of monasteries were formed by the monks living on these peaks. The monasteries are situated near Pinios River which originates from Mountainous range called Pindus.The peaks have taken a number of varied shapes. These structures appear like stalagmites, soaring high into the sky. These holy places were built so that monks could have a worshipping place resting in solitude and peace. These also protected them from the attacks from Ottoman Empire as these pinnacles are almost inaccessible.
The foundation of the monasteries of Meteora Greece dates back to as early as 9th century. Earlier a number of monks and disciples used to gather in caves. But later on, as their number increased monasteries of Doupini were created. Earlier the rules of the community were very harsh but due to the efforts of monk John Uresis, a number of privileges were granted to these religious sects. After 16th century, a continuous decline took place. Out of 24 monasteries, only a few have survived viz Great Meteoron, Agia Trias etc.
The monasteries have been made accessible by roads. On one side of the road, are Doupini and Pantocrator hermitages. Agios Nikolaos is yet another monastery that was created in 16th century. It was decorated with frescoes. Agia Moni was built in 14th century. Another one is Roussanou that was renovated in 16th century. As we go further south, Agia Trias is seen. To reach it, one has to go through a large number of circular stairs.Agios Stephenos is a museum. Earlier it was a monastery and was visited by the king Haralambos. This monastery of Meteora Greece is beautifully decorated with carvings, frescoes and paintings. All Saints, Varlaam and Three Hierarchs are few of the other hermitages. The last monastery that is most famous is Great Meteoron which is accessible by a series of more than 110 stairs.
The Great Meteoron is a storehouse of many works of art. Other attractions of Meteora Greece are a dome with 12 sides and church of Transfiguration. Refectory houses a number of rare manuscripts. Metamorphosis is the biggest of all these holy abodes. It has collection of frescoes depicting the martyrs. Even bones of these martyrs are on display. Agia Tirada is a place which is hard to access by the tourists. A prehistoric cave called Theopetra is also a treat to visit. The cave belongs to Paleolithic period.
Visitors are expected to wear modest dresses. The place attracts more crowds during summer as peaks get covered with ice in winter. The site was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For those who want to capture this panoramic view in their cameras, sunrise and sunset are the best times.