SPECIALS/EVENTS IN THE AEGEAN SEA
GREAT METEORON MONASTERY (METEORA)
The Great Meteoron – The oldest and largest floating monastery of Meteora. A true cultural highlight during your visit of the unique region of Meteora!
The oldest and largest floating monastery of Meteora: the Great Meteoron Monastery
The Meteora Monasteries, east of the Pindos Mountains, are located near the city of Kalambaka in Thessaly and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The unique location of the monasteries, which were built on high sandstone cliffs seeming to float on foggy days, is fascinating in itself. One of the 24 original monasteries, of which only six still exist today (two for nuns, four for monks), is the Great Meteoron Monastery Megaló Metéoro.
Like a medieval skyscraper, it towers 613m above sea level on a sandstone column and is the oldest of all the monasteries built there. Founded in 1344 by Athanasios, it is, with an area of 60.000 m2, the largest monastery of Meteora. The rock formation was given its name, Metéoro, by Athanasios, which means 'high up'.
Athanasios was the founder of the monastery. He also determined the rules for monastic life, which, from then on, all monks followed. For this reason, the establishment of this monastery is considered a turning point from which the derivation of the term Metamórphosis (transformation) originates.
Until 1923 the monastery could only be reached by rope ladders or a winch with a net. Today, a stone staircase with 143 steps and a tunnel leads into the building complex. After ascending the many stairs you will be rewarded with fabulous views.
The interior of the monastery also holds true treasures of the Middle Ages: in the main church in the central inner courtyard magnificent frescoes from 1552 have been preserved. Also worth seeing is the hermit cave of Athanasius at the entrance of the monastery. You should likewise catch a glimpse of the monk’s old refectory, where a table from the 16th century is remains, partially decked with the original tableware. Equally interesting are the many religious golden wood carvings as well as a visit to the old kitchen, whose walls are still blackened with soot. Here the original bread oven can be admired. A true journey back in time to the 14th century.
Everything started here in the Megalo Meteoro. Around the original monastery a complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries were gradually built, which still today make Meteora an important spiritual centre worldwide.
Please note that during your visit you must dress accordingly: arms and shoulders should be covered, men must wear long trousers and women long skirts. Each of the monasteries has a rest day on a different day, so they are never all open on the same day.
Summertime: daily from 9 am to 5 pm, closed every Tuesday
Wintertime: daily 9 am – 3 pm, closed every Tuesday and Wednesday
Entrance fee: 3 euro/person