One day trip to Meteora, Greece

Hello, travellers!

Today I'll take you back to the wonderful Greece, most precisely to the monasteries of Meteora, which literally mean "middle of the sky".
On the fall of 2013, after my first summer season on Kefalonia, I visited couple of places on the continental part of Greece. Meteora had probablly the most poignant impression on me.

"Meteora is associated with one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The remaining six monasteries are built on natural conglomerate pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List." (Wikipedia)

On the way to Meteora I passed the beautiful town of Kalambaka. The road was absolutely beautiful. I had finished visiting Ioannina, which is another amazing place that I will talk to you about on a future post, when I decided to head to Meteora.

Until this moment I was used to the clear blue waters of the Mediteranean Sea and the arid landscape of the islands, so you can only imagine what a pleasant surprise I had travelling on the continental Greece, through green forests, valleys and mountains. I was feeling like I stepped into a different, enchanting world, which I totally recommend for you, wanderlust seekers.

It was a sunny, warm 5th of October and I had made a new friend at the entrance to the first monastery. (See the picture above)
The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas, one of four male monasteries in Meteora, is located on top of a vast rock whose summit is of a small surface area. The architectural form of the building stirs the admiration of the visitor, due to the fact that it is moulded to the shape of the height on which the complex rests.

The stairway, leading up towards the monastery, was sculpted from 1932 to 1936, safeguarding the safe and easy access to visitors and travellers. Before its construction the only way to access the monastery was the traditional vrizoni, the net that was used to carry both people and necessary victuals. The Church is dedicated to St. Nicholas of Lycia, patron saint of the sailors and one of the most worshipped Saints within the Greek Orthodox World.

After taking couple of pictures of the place and the incredible surroundings I headed to the next one.
The Monastery of Rousanou/St. Barbara was the secong to visit. It was founded in the middle of the 16th century and decorated in 1560. Today it is a flourishing nunnery with 13 nuns in residence.

"Rousannou Monastery stands on a low rock and is easily accessible by a bridge built of wood in 1868 and replaced by more solid material in 1930. Despite this, its situation is still quite dramatic, with the rock dropping off sharply on all sides.

The monastery covers the entire surface of the rock and consists of three levels: the church and cells occupy the ground floor, while the two upper floors house the guest quarters, reception halls, an exhibition room, and more cells. The frescoes in Rousannou's Church of the Transfiguration of Christ, which is essentially a smaller version of Varlaam's church, date from 1560." (Source)

The resident nuns tend to be friendlier to visitors than their male counterparts in Meteora and often provide sweets to guests as they relax in the courtyard.
I enjoyed walking in the forest near the monastery, climbing over couple of rocks and admiring the panorama. It was one of those places where you realise how small you actually are and what an amazing planet we have.

Next on my road was The Monastery of Varlaam which is the second largest monastery in the Meteora complex.

"It was built in 1541 and embellished in 1548. A church, dedicated to All Saints, is in the Athonite type (cross-in-square with dome and choirs), with spacious exonarthex (lite) is surrounded by a dome. It was built in 1541/42 and decorated in 1548, while the exonarthex was decorated in 1566. The old refectory is used as a museum while north of the church is the parekklesion of the Three Bishops, built in 1627 and decorated in 1637." (Wikipedia)

The 4th and last monastery I visited was The Monastery of Great Meteoron.

"This is the largest of the monasteries located at Meteora. It was erected in the mid-14th century and was the subject of restoration and embellishment projects in 1483 and 1552. One building serves as the main museum for tourists. 

The Katholikon (main church), consecrated in honour of the Transfiguration of Jesus was erected in the middle of the 14th century and 1387/88 and decorated in 1483 and 1552."(Wikipedia)

I haven't got the chance to visit the other two monasteries, The Monastery of St. Stephen and The Monastery of the Holy Trinity, but after 4 hours of visiting the other ones, I considered it was enough; a long way to Athens was waiting.

In conclusion it was a wonderful experience, absolutely amazing constructions, breath taking views and incredible facts which I found out about the nuns and the monks lives, history and religion. 
Meteora, as well as Mt. Athos should be on every Greece lover's "must visit" list.

Feel free to explore Santorini on my latest post.

Until next time.

Travel well and everywhere!


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