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Meteora: An Amazing Places To Visit In Meteora USA


Meteora is a rocky outcrop in the Greek region of Thessaly that is home to one of the biggest and most ominously constructed complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second only to Mount Athos in significance. The six monasteries (out of the original twenty-four) are erected on massive, rounded boulders that resemble hills and dominate the surrounding landscape.

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The twenty-four monasteries that now stand atop the rocks were built between the 13th and 14th centuries. The town of Kalabaka is close to Meteora, which is situated close to the Pineios River and Pindus Mountains at the northernmost edge of the Plain of Thessaly.

Due to the complex’s exceptional architecture, aesthetic appeal, and significance in terms of both religion and the arts, Meteora was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

The name is related to meteor in etymology and means “lofty” and “elevated.”.


These extraordinary and enormous rock columns rise abruptly from the ground in the western part of Thessaly, close to the Pindos Mountains. However, geological explanations for their peculiar shape are difficult. The rocks are made up of a combination of sandstone and conglomerate rather than being volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock like those found elsewhere.  .

The conglomerate was created over millions of years from deposits of stone, sand, and mud from streams flowing into a delta at the edge of a lake. The seabed was pushed upward by a series of earth movements that occurred during the Paleogene period about 60 million years ago, resulting in a high plateau and numerous vertical fault lines in the dense layer of sandstone.

As a result of weathering caused by water, wind, and temperature extremes on the vertical faults, the enormous rock pillars were eventually formed. It is unusual that the type of weathering and conglomerate formation found in this area are restricted to a small region of the surrounding mountain formation. A continental exhumed remnant of the Pangean association is what the complex is described as.

There are numerous local and global locations where this kind of rock formation and weathering process has taken place, but what makes Meteora’s appearance unique is the uniformity of the sedimentary rock constituents deposited over millions of years leaving few signs of vertical layering, as well as the localized abrupt vertical weathering.

In Theopetra Cave, petrified diatoms were found by excavations and research, which helped to shed light on the palaeoclimate and climate changes that occurred during that time. Human habitation has been documented for 50,000 years using radiocarbon dating. The cave was once accessible to the general public, but it is currently closed indefinitely for safety checks.

Because of the water that can be found in the cliff’s crevices and cracks, vegetation protrudes thickly from the vertical rock walls. The claims that getting to the Meteora on foot was simple in previous centuries have changed because doing so now necessitates navigating a treacherous jungle.  .

Because of the Meteora’s enormous, unpredictable rock pillars, rock falls are a constant danger to visitors and pilgrims. The thin pillars miraculously remain in place today despite a magnitude 7 earthquake that shook the rocks in 1954. A huge rock fell in 2005, closing the access road to Meteora for days.


4 km (2.55 mi) separate Kalambaka from Theopetra Cave. Its distinctiveness from an archaeological standpoint is that a single site contains records of two very important cultural transitions: the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans and later, the transition from hunting-and-gathering to farming after the end of the last Ice Age.

The cave has an enormous 500 square meter (5,400 square foot) rectangular chamber with a 17 meter (56 foot) wide by 3 meter (9 point 8 foot) high entrance at the base of a limestone hill that rises to the northeast above the village of Theopetra. It is situated at the base of the Chasia mountain range, which naturally divides Thessaly from Macedonia. The Lithaios River, a tributary of the Pineios River, flows in front of the cave. Living in a cave eliminated the need for daily long journeys to find fresh, clean water because the small Lithaios River literally flowed on the doorsteps of the cave.

Ancient history

Between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago, inhabitants of the caves near Meteora lived there continuously. Many Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts of human occupation have been found inside the caves, including the oldest known example of a built structure, a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to the Theopetra cave. This wall was probably built 23,000 years ago as a barrier against cold winds because the Earth was going through an ice age at the time.

Ancient Greek literature and classical Greek myths both make no mention of Meteora. An ascetic group of hermit monks who moved up to the prehistoric pinnacles in the ninth century AD were the first people known to live in Meteora after the Neolithic Era. Some of the rock towers were as high as 1800 feet (550 meters), where they made their homes in fissures and hollows. All but the most tenacious tourists were kept away by this great height and the sheerness of the cliff walls. The hermits initially lived a life of seclusion, gathering only on Sundays and other special occasions to worship and pray in a chapel constructed at the base of a rock known as Dupiani.

Monks first lived in Meteora’s caves in the eleventh century. Monasteries weren’t, however, created until the fourteenth century, when the monks needed a place to hide from the rising number of Turkish assaults on Greece. There were windlasses or detachable ladders available at this time to access the top. Because steps were carved into the rock during the 1920s, climbing up there is much easier now. Only six (four male and two female) of the 24 monasteries are still in use and each one is home to fewer than ten people.

History and construction of the monasteries

The specific date of the foundation of the religious communities is broadly accepted to be obscure; in any case, there are signs to when every one of the cloisters was built. By the late 11th and early twelfth hundreds of years, a simple devout state had framed called the Skete of Stagoi and was based on the as yet standing church of Theotokos (Mother of God). Toward the finish of the twelfth 100 years, a parsimonious local area had rushed to Meteora.

In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos carried a gathering of supporters to Meteora. From 1356 to 1372, he established The Incomparable Meteoron Religious community on the Expansive Stone, which was ideally suited for the priests; they were protected from political commotion and had full oversight of the section to the cloister. The main method for arriving at it was by ascending a long stepping stool, which was drawn up at whatever point the priests felt undermined.

Toward the finish of the fourteenth hundred years, the Byzantine Domain’s rule over northern Greece was progressively compromised by Turkish bandits who needed command over the fruitful plain of Thessaly. The recluse priests, looking for a retreat from the extending Turkish occupation, tracked down the unavailable stone mainstays of Meteora to be an optimal shelter. In excess of 20 cloisters were constructed, starting in the fourteenth 100 years; just six remain today.

In 1517, Theophanes assembled the cloister of Varlaam, which was rumored to house the finger of St. John and the shoulder bone of St. Andrew.

Admittance to the cloisters was initially (and purposely) troublesome, requiring either lengthy stepping stools hooked together or enormous nets used to pull up the two merchandise and individuals. This required very much an act of pure trust – the ropes were supplanted, so the story goes, as it were “the point at which the Master let them break”. In the expressions of UNESCO, “The net in which gutsy travelers were raised up upward close by the 373 meters (1,224 ft) precipice where the Varlaam cloister overwhelms the valley represents the delicacy of a customary lifestyle that is undermined with eradication.”

Until the seventeenth hundred years, the essential method for conveying products and individuals from these eyries was through containers and ropes.

In 1921, Sovereign Marie of Romania visited Meteora, turning into the very first lady permitted to enter the Incomparable Meteoron cloister.

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During the 1920s there was an improvement in the courses of action. Steps were cut into the stone, making the complex open through a scaffold from the close by level. During The Second Great War the site was bombarded.

FAQs: Meteora

Why is Meteora famous?

More than 500 years ago, monks built 24 Eastern Orthodox monasteries atop inaccessible peaks in this part of central Greece. Today, Meteora is as renowned for these spiritual structures as it is for its unique geological formations. In Greek, the name Meteora aptly translates to “suspended in air.”

Is Meteora the oldest place on Earth?

Meteora’s surreal landscape houses the oldest known man-made structure on earth. Civilizations dates back 23,000 years in Meteora. This ancient land dates back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras.

Is Meteora worth a visit?

This area is a breathtaking combination of majestic monasteries and an otherworldly landscape. What is this? Mix in its UNESCO World Heritage status due to its religious and historical importance, and Meteora deserves to be on your top five places to see in Greece.

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