METEORA

The Meteore monasteries

METEORA

• Meteora is a rare geological phenomenon. Meteora is a cluster of huge dark cliffs and rocks, rising out of Kalambaka, near the first hills of Pindos and Chassia mountain range. The monasteries of Meteora, which are built on top of some of the rocks, are currently the second most important monastic group in Greece, after Mount Athos. Twenty four monasteries have been historically present, today though, only six are operational and they are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage since 1988. Most of them were built in the late byzantine era, between 13th and 15th century A.D., in order to host the numerous byzantine orthodox monks who then wished to live a more ascetic and isolated life.

• The creation of the geological landscape, though it has at times occupied many Greek and foreign geologists, has not been yet clearly understood. It is interesting that neither the greek Mythology or the ancient Greeks nor any foreign historian has ever reported this area. The local people gave the rocks the name “Meteora”, which means “hovering in the air”

• According to the theory of the german geologist Philipson, who visited Greece in the late 19th century, the creation of these huge boulders is due to the deltoid cone river boulders and limestone rocks which for millions of years were poured into the sea, covering then what was later known as “Thessaly”. The geological changes occurring for centuries, lifted and released this section, when the waters of the Aegean Sea withdrew. So later in the Tertiary period, when the alpine folds of Pindos mountains were formed, the cone lost its compact shape, creating gradually smaller individual cones, those existing today (Meteora) and among them the valley of the Peneos river.

 

Today six monasteries are open, namely:

• The male monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas

• The Monastery Rousanou (Arsanas)

• The male monastery of the Transfiguration, also known as the "Great Meteor" on the highest rock.

• The monastery of All Saints (Varlaam)

• The Holy Trinity Monastery

• The nunnery St. Stephen

 

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