Meteora

Meteora Travel Blog

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Monastery on a hill

We started the next morning with breakfast at the hotel and a trip to the local supermarket so we had something for lunch.  The rain was coming down harder than ever, and I was already unhappy that the clouds were ruining the view of these old monasteries.  It just ate me up inside to think I came all this way to see clouds instead of this strange rock formation.

Meteora (Even the name is cool, don't you think?) is the name of the site in northern Greece where the landscape, although relatively flat, has several strange rock formations.  I am not sure how they were formed, but they appear to be tall, thin mountains sticking up from random points in the ground.  Hermit monks came to live on these peaks and eventually built more than 20 monasteries there.

View of the Varlaam Monastery
  These were only accessable having someone in the monastery pull you up by a net or bucket.  It was an ideal refuge during Turkish occupation.

Today, only six of the monasteries are still inhabited, five by men and one by women.  Our visit would include as many of those as we could.  Driving from Kalambaka, we passed through the little town os Kastraki before heading up into Meteora.  We found that the first monastery, St. Nicholas Anapausas, was closed on the day we were there.  That was a bit of a bummer at first, but we quickly got over it.  We drove onward to the second monastery, Rousanou.

The Grand Meteora
  After paying the 2 euros a piece to go inside, Cathy had to put on a skirt/wrap thing (to cover up her pants, apparently) because "it was necessary for a woman to wear a skirt inside".  Yeah, that makes perfect sense...

Rousanou offered some great views of the area and the Grand Meteora monastery, and had an altar with the typical Greek Orthodox artwork - pictures of their saints getting killed.  We walked back down the stairs to our car, and we followed the road to the next monastery, which happened to be the Grand Meteora.  This monastery was a really nice size, and I felt like we got our 2 euros worth here.  (Each monastery cost 2 euros to go inside.)  Although it was raining hard, which monastery, which is set up more like a museum now, houses many of the remaining artifacts from the monks of old.

Meteora
  Walking through the place, you could get a taste of what life was like back then.  The nets and baskets were still there, and looking down, it was obvious the monks had a lot of faith to trust those ropes.

Inside one room of the Grand Meteora is a room filled with pieces of historical information on the area.  Some of these monks faught and gave their lives to defend it.  In yet another room are skulls of many of the saints that are shown around the monastery, their picture showing how they were killed.  It is said that these skulls are able to perform miracles even to this day.

The rain and clouds were really hindering the view (since we were now quite a ways up), and the view of the area was limited.  This really upset me because Meteora was once of the places I had really wanted to see.

The Monastery of Saint Stefano
  After a short drive to the Varlaam monastery, Cathy and I began to figure out that they all look pretty much the same inside.  There are some religious artifacts and then a sanctuary where sermons are held.  Inside this sanctuary are pictures showing how saints were killed.  By the time we had reached the Agia Tria monastery, we were about monasteried out.

That fact, and the rain that just kept coming down really took away from the experience for me.  I just wanted to stand up there and appreciate the view, but I couldn't do so.  We finally made it to the last monastery, St. Stephen's, but neither of us wanted to pay the 2 euro to go inside.  We knew what we'd find in there so we just saved the money and the trouble and chose not to get more wet.  We sat in our car and watched the ponchos and umbrellas pass by as we ate the lunch we had packed.  When we were done, we drove back to Kalambaka where we filled up the gas tank and then headed south for Delphi.

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Monastery on a hill
Monastery on a hill
View of the Varlaam Monastery
View of the Varlaam Monastery
The Grand Meteora
The Grand Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
The Monastery of Saint Stefano
The Monastery of Saint Stefano
View of the Varlaam Monastery
View of the Varlaam Monastery
Inside the Grand Meteora
Inside the Grand Meteora
Kastraki village
Kastraki village
Skulls of saints inside the Grand …
Skulls of saints inside the Grand…
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Grand Meteora
View from the Grand Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
The Monastery of Roussano
The Monastery of Roussano
Monastery of Roussano
Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
The Grand Meteora
The Grand Meteora
Belltower in the Monastery of Rous…
Belltower in the Monastery of Rou…
The Grand Meteora
The Grand Meteora
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
View from the Monastery of Roussano
Driving through Meteora
Driving through Meteora
Inside the Agia Tria Monastery
Inside the Agia Tria Monastery
View of Kalambaka
View of Kalambaka
The Monastery of Saint Stefano
The Monastery of Saint Stefano
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
View of Kalambaka
View of Kalambaka
View of the Monastery of Saint Ste…
View of the Monastery of Saint St…
Meteora
Meteora
Monastery of Varlaam
Monastery of Varlaam
Meteora
Meteora
Monastery of Varlaam
Monastery of Varlaam
View of the Grand Meteora
View of the Grand Meteora
View from the Monastery of Varlaam
View from the Monastery of Varlaam
They used to use these baskets to …
They used to use these baskets to…
I know its blurry, but theres a …
I know it's blurry, but there's a…
Meteora
Meteora
Meteora
photo by: anupa_rk