Stone giants floating in the sky, a monastic community climbed on sharp peaks, a unique geological phenomenon that arouses awe and spiritual exaltation. The imposing rocks of Meteora were formed, according to the prevailing geological theory, millions of years ago, when the Thessalian plain was an enormous lake. Due to complex geology alterations through the passage of time the rocky volumes came up, creating a mystical stone paradise for nature lovers and climbers.
The first climbers on Meteora were hermits, who, in 9th century onwards, used their own hands and feet to find shelter in the natural cavities of the rocks. In the 14th century Saint Athanasios Meteoritis founded the first organized monastery on the so-called Platys Lithos, the Great Rock, inaugurating a long period of monastic prosperity in Meteora. Nowadays, from the 30 monasteries that thrived during the medieval times, 6 active monasteries survive, 4 for monks and 2 nunneries, preserving a big number of precious treasuries, frescoes, manuscripts, holy icons along with humble artifacts that once were the only means to reach the steep rocks: Nets, rope ladders and carved staircases.
The monasteries are accessible through paved roads, but it is worth taking the paths that lead from one monastery to another, to the nearby village Kastraki and the city of Kalambaka. The enchanting landscape and the moderate slopes make the conditions ideal for hikers and bike-lovers of all levels. On the way we find, apart from the monasteries open to visitors, more than 15 restored and abandoned monasteries, hermitages hidden in caves and the so-called Monks’ Prisons, places of penitentiary and short-term exile.
The rock’s composition and morphology make Meteora a climbing paradise, ideal for beginners and expert climbers as well. With more than 700 climbing routes, full equipment and the guidance of our experienced instructors, even first-time climbers can enjoy the unique, breathtaking landscape of Meteora from above.
20 January 2022