SPECIALS/EVENTS IN THE AEGEAN SEA
Meteora (GREEK MAINLAND)
Meteora in General
Meteora in general: Greece is diversity and pure history. However, there is one place possibly unique in the world: Meteora. The fascinating area of Meteora, east of the Pindos Mountains and near the city of Kalambaka in Thessaly, is made up of huge bedrock, up to 400 meters high, and extending over an area of about 30 km. A spectacular geological phenomenon with imposing, separated rocky outcrops that form a forest of towering stone. Meteora is connected to one of the largest complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries, built in an exceptional location. Meteora monasteries have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1988. The name Metéora derives from meteorizo (μετεωρίζω), which means “to lift up”. This designation describes the unique location of the monasteries, which were built on high sandstone crags and which seem to float on foggy days. A sight that fascinates and awakens a desire to take a closer look at these monasteries lying at dizzying heights.
The floating monasteries of Meteora is a sacred and spiritual place. It is not without reason that we wonder how these towering monasteries, floating between heaven and earth, were built.
Ascetic life in the area dates back to the 12th century when the first hermits arrived in Meteora. With the arrival of the monk Athanasios, who fled Athos in 1334, the rise of monastic life in the region began. Together with his spiritual father, Gregorios, and 14 other monks, he founded the monastery Metamórphosis, also known as Megálo Metéoro, in 1344. Athanasios established the rules of monastic life in Metéora and was beatified after his death as Athanasios Meteorite. In the heyday of the Late Middle Ages, in the 14th century, further monasteries were built in various, often unimaginable places. The building material is said to have been hoisted up with ropes and hoists, and, in part, even by the monks themselves. Rope ladders were also used to climb up the rock-face. Only later were special paths built to make the ascent easier and to make it possible for visitors to see some of the remaining monasteries.
The entire complex consists of 24 individual monasteries and hermitages, of which only six are still inhabited today (Metamórphosis, Varlaám, Rousánou, Agía Triáda, Agios Stéfanos and Agios Nikólaos Anapavsás). The remaining eighteen monasteries are either too difficult to reach or have been abandoned due to danger of collapse.
Meteora, the skyscrapers of the Middle Ages – a place to discover and marvel.
Biking: Discovering Meteora by bike is possibly one of the most beautiful nature experiences available. In the midst of the seclusion and tranquillity of this magical place there are tracks and nature trails along rivers and right into the spectacular mountainous world of Meteora. Here you will find a wide range of natural trails, rock gardens and single trails; from fluid to technical. On every bike tour, stunning views and beautiful nature, that promise to last a lifetime as an unforgettable souvenirs, will be your constant companion. Whether with E-Bike, trekking or mountain bike, the region Meteora offers numerous bike-stations as well as possibilities for guided or organized tours. Welcome to an expedition of paradise that has, so far, been little discovered!
Other activities: Meteora is not only a natural beauty and spiritual location; outdoor sports enthusiasts will also have plenty to enjoy: the rocks of Meteora are among the most popular climbing destinations in Greece. Dietrich Hasse, a German climber who is largely responsible for the development of the area for climbing, has written a number of guidebooks on the possible hiking trails and climbing routes in Meteora. In 2001, the BASE-jumper Felix Baumgartner leapt from a height of 120 meters from one of the Meteora rocks. Hiking in Meteora is both relaxing and exciting. While the many adventure holiday agencies in central Greece organise group hikes, Meteora also offers plenty of possibilities for those hungry for hiking, either alone or with friends.
There are several caves to discover in the formations of the Meteora cliffs including the Theopetra Cave only 4 km outside of Kalambaka. The huge cave, whose main chamber measures about 500 m², is home to the oldest man-made structure in the world; a stone wall built 23,000 years ago that closes two thirds of the entrance to the cave.
On the way from Kalambaka towards Trikala you reach the historical lake Sarakina, 8 km outside the city. It is well worth the trip as here you will find the largest stone bridge in Trikala, the famous six-arched bridge from the 16th century; one of the most beautiful sights of the region.
By plane: The nearest airports are Volos, Thessaloniki and Athens.
By bus: Public buses run regularly between Meteora and Larissa, the capital of the Greek region of Thessaly, as well as the cities of Volos, Athens and Thessaloniki. The bus from Athens to Meteora takes about 4 hours, from Thessaloniki about 3 hours.