When I first saw photographs of the monasteries built upon these sheer cliffs, I could only marvel at the ingenuity of the people who built them. But the story of how Meteora came to be is even more amazing. It took 65 million years of geologic time to create these natural landforms, and their extraordinary beauty still captivates today.
65 million years ago these rocks were part of an ocean seabed, in the delta of what must have been a massive ancient river.
It must also have been very fast flowing to have moved the football-sized boulders it washed down. These eventually combined with sand to form a rocky conglomerate.
Over time, this sea bed was pushed up, and once exposed to wind and rain and sunshine, it began to be eroded and fractured.
In the 14th century, orthodox Christian monks began to build monasteries on top of some of these sheer columns…
At one time there were 24 separate monasteries here. Today there are 6. They welcome visitors, although you do need to be reasonably fit. And not afraid of steps….
Some of the monasteries have an open space and garden. It’s easy to feel the spiritual connection.
Inside, there is no mistaking that you’re in a monastery. Some of them have over 700 years of continuous heritage.
In the past the only way in or out was via a rope and winch, and a basket. The monasteries were certainly a place for solitude and contemplation.
You don’t need to be religious to appreciate Meteora, or to understand why it’s UNESCO world heritage listed….
The oldest monastery is the biggest one. It’s called “The Monastery of Great Meteoron”. It was founded in the 14th century.
There can be quite a queue to get in.
I’d recommend you bring a hat and sunscreen, and also some water – in case you encounter a delay. Not just in Summer, but even in Spring, when I shot this video.
There’s a dress code. Skirts are compulsory for women. It’s a 3 Euro entry fee for each of the 6 monasteries.
Multiply that by 2 and a half million visitors and… Well of course there’s a gift shop!
But Meteora is an amazing part of the world.
It’s well worth a visit,
Even if you’re not religious…