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Meteora. Natural wonder and God’s blessing

A natural marvel and astonishing geological phenomenon that took place millions of years ago, Meteora Rocks are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. Easily accessible from both southern and northern Greece, they are the Number 1 destination in the heart of Trikala Prefecture, in the northwest part of Thessaly, in between Hassia [NE] and Pindos mountains [west].

 

The majestic Meteora rocks, which host impressive monasteries on their tips and hide centuries of history in their gorges, ravines and hollows, are a significant monument of the Orthodox Religion and the second most important monastic state in Greece after Aghion Oros. According to history, the monasteries were 30, of which only 6 are functional today, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument.

 

The morphology of Meteora offered refuge from hostile attacks and a shelter to bold hermits and anchorites who came here seeking serenity and undistracted dedication to prayer, as well as an ideal monastic site, preserving important cultural heritage and post byzantine works of art. The first hermits are said to have found refuge in the rocks in the end of the first millennium, but by the beginning of the 12th century they had already formed a small monastic state, with the temple of Virgin Mary as their worship center, a holly centre of religion which reached its peak around the 17th century.

 

Meteora monasteries are a unique harmonious mix of byzantine architecture and natural beauty, since the buildings seem to be a continuance of the rocks, almost their natural finish.
Only 6 monasteries are inhabitable and open to the public today: The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapausas [1150], the Holy Monastery of Rousanou or Arsani [1288], the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, built on the largest rock named “Wide Rock”, the Holy Monastery of Varlaam and second largest in Meteora [1350], the Monastery of Holy Trinity [1438] and the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen.