Meteors in Greece

By tatje | Tourist places | 21 Apr 2023

The Story of Meteors

The Greek word meteora means "floating in the air", which well describes the location of the Orthodox monasteries, which, in addition to offering an incredible view of the fabulous landscape, give an insight into the daily life of the medieval monastery.

The first monastery was founded around 1350 by Saint Athanaios, which was followed by another 23 churches on 23 different peaks of the Pindos Mountains within a short time. According to some research, the first hermits and ascetics who renounced worldly life appeared in the surrounding caves as early as the 10th century AD. Over the centuries, their number kept increasing, and from the 14th century, monasteries were founded one after the other.
On the rock tops, the hermits could serve God away from the noise of the world and protected from enemy attacks, which were otherwise common in the Middle Ages.


Meteora monasteries can be visited


Varlaam Monastery

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the buildings could only be accessed by ropes and ladders lowered into the valley. Only then did they start building the stair systems, and from the mid-70s, roads, bridges and viaducts were built so that as many tourists as possible could visit the Meteora. But even so, we have to climb hundreds of steps to the churches that offer a unique sight. The Meterora monasteries have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1988.

Varlaam Monastery, Meteora | The Holy Monastery of Varlaam i… | Flickr


Great Meteora Monastery

The oldest, largest and also the highest monastery. Visitors do not have an easy task, as they have to climb 300 more steps from the parking lot to the 615-meter-high peak, but the view compensates everyone for the effort.
In the case of Megalo Meteoro, we can actually speak of a monastery complex, as it includes the 14th century church, chapels, a small museum, a wine cellar and a shady courtyard lined with trees.

Monasteries of Meteora


Holy Trinity Monastery 

The monastery founded in the 15th century is perhaps even better known than the Great Meteora.
The approach to Agia Triada is the most difficult of all: from the parking lot, we first have to overcome a steep slope, followed by a 140-degree climb. In exchange, however, the most beautiful view of the region opens from here.

Holy Trinity Monastery or Agia Triada Monastery in the Meteora, Greece  Stock Photo | Adobe Stock

Varlaam Monastery

The second largest monastery, founded by monk Varlaam in the middle of the 14th century. The St. Varlaam Monastery gives a glimpse of the difficulties the monks encountered during the construction of the sanctuary: according to descriptions, it took 22 years until all the building materials were brought to the top. The nets and baskets suspended on the mountainside are still used for carrying loads to this day. Tourists can now access the monastery via a 195-degree staircase carved into the rock wall.
The treasury of the Varlaam monastery is the richest in the area: relics of saints, liturgical vestments, crosses, the iron belt of the monastery's founder, gilded altar cloths, manuscripts written on parchment and hundreds of books can be found.

Monastery of Varlaam - Trikala Region, Thessaly

Saint Stephen's Monastery 

Agios Stefanos is the most accessible monastery of all, we only have to cross a wooden bridge, there are no stairs waiting for us. The only Meteora monastery visible from the town of Kalambaka.
III lived here for a short time in the 14th century. Byzantine emperor Andronikos financed the expansion of the monastery. It was bombed by the Germans in the Second World War, it stood empty until 1961, and then it became a monastery.

Monastery of St. Stephen | Meteora

Roussanou Monastery

The lowest-lying monastery of the 6 surviving Meteora, it is accordingly one of the easiest to reach. The monastery was founded in the 14th century, but it took its final shape only 200 years later.
Like the Szent István monastery, it was seriously damaged in the Second World War, and in 1988 it was turned into a monastery. Today it is inhabited by 15 sisters.

Monastery of Rousanou - Wikipedia


Saint Nicholas Monastery 

It was built in the 15th century, but due to the small surface of the rock, the founders could not expand its territory, so Agios Nikolaos became the smallest Meteora monastery. Nevertheless, it is less crowded, so perhaps more personal and charming than the others. The Saint Nicholas Monastery boasts the most beautiful frescoes in the Meteora region.

Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas -

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