The pearl of Greece: the heavenly monasteries of Meteora

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Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри МетеорыIt is a place of incredible beauty.

Tourists who visited soaring in the sky monasteries, agree on one thing: this man-made miracle better to see with your own eyes – the most skilled the story pales before the marvelous beauty of these places.

First impression

At the entrance to Kalambaka, in front of you like mysterious stone grows a forest of fantastically shaped rocks, on top of which perched the monasteries.

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

Overlooking the town of Kalambaka from the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen

In the Middle ages, fleeing from persecution by the Turks, here, to a place called Meteora, the monks fled. That they built a shelter on the rock. At the beginning of last century to get to the monastery was only possible in grids using hand winches or ladders. Now the Meteors paved road, and to each monastery are carved in the rock stairs.

How to get to Meteora

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

Floating in the air monasteries are in the North region of Thessalia, at the foot of the mountain massif of the Pindos mountains. Six of them: four men and two women. They are open on different days at different times, but Saturday and Sunday are available to visit all. Entrance – from 3 to 6 euros.

If you come with tour or individually, you will have time to visit them in one day, but it will be a journey “crossing Europe”. Inspection is preferably split into two days. Easier just to buy a tour to travel companies: day – from € 55, two-day – from € 140 per person.

Get to Meteora from Athens or Thessaloniki with a journey time of 3-4 hours. Go up to the monasteries on the road from the town of Kalambaka or the nearby village of Kastraki, but if you’re a fan of Hiking and climbing, we will tell you about the unique route. Those who will use them, will appreciate not only the greatness and beauty of metersky the monasteries, but feel that they felt the monks making the first trails among towering cliffs.

Walk to the heavens

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

To the pedestrian trail from the village of Kastraki to the St. Nicholas monastery of Agios Nikolaos

The route starts from the Central square of Kastraki village. The trail passes near the cave-chapel Agios Ieros Mandalas, located at the foot of the cliff – the cave is easily identified by colored rags, tied at the entrance of tourists. After 20 minutes of leisurely walk you reach the stone stairs. This is the entrance to the St. Nicholas monastery of Agios Nikolaos. Climbing the staircase with 185 steps will take 10-15 minutes. 25 from the beginning of the stairs are the ruins of the monastery of St. Moni and Parking. From there begins a paved trail. In 15 minutes you will come to a T-shaped fork. If you turn right, in 15 minutes you arrive at the Holy monastery of Varlaam, if the left – that in 15 minutes you approach the monastery of the Great meteoron.

The St. Nicholas Monastery Of Agios Nikolaos

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

The monastery is very small. The rock on which he built a low, but very narrow, which did not allow builders to spread out. Therefore, it is arranged in three levels. Tourists are attracted by murals made by famous painter Theophanes the Cretan. In summer and winter, the monastery is open every day except Friday. In summer from 9.00 to 15.30, in the winter to 14.00. Here goes the bus from Kalambaka (departure at 9.00 and 13.00).

The Monastery Megála Meteor

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

This is the largest monastery is located at around 615 metres, it has 154 steps. The monastery is a large number of relics, including relics of St. Athanasius Meteorologo, founded in the 14th century the first monastic settlements of the Meteora.

In summer the monastery is open daily except Tuesdays, from 9.00 to 17.00. Weekend days – Tuesday, Wednesday. This is the final stop of the regular bus from Kalambaka. Anyone can get into the monastery in pod, as before it was done by the monks.

Holy monastery of Varlaam

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

Many tourists consider this the most impressive monastery in Meteora. It is famous for its unique wall paintings. To get here the closest from the village of Kastraki. Open in summer daily, except Friday, from 9.00 to 16.00. Can also be reached by bus from Kalambaka.

The Monastery Of St. Barbara

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

The monastery is located lower than the other monasteries, but to stand up to him on foot is almost impossible. It is built so that its walls are a continuation of the low cliff on which it is located. In the monastery there is an orchard, an apiary and a greenhouse works icon painting workshop. To the monastery leads up a long staircase, after which you need to go to the entrance on a narrow bridge thrown over a precipice. Here it is most convenient to reach by car from the village of Kastraki. Also there is regular bus service from Kalambaka (9.00 and 13.00). The monastery is open daily except Wednesday from 9.00 to 18.00.

Convent of St. Stephen

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

It is most convenient to visit, as connected with the road eight-meter bridge, so visitors do not need to climb some steep steps, just like the other monasteries. The monastery has a center for the revival of Byzantine music and icon painting workshop. The monastery is open from Tuesday to Sunday in summer and winter. Time 9.00 – 17.00. To it easier to get from Kalampaka to private transport or tourist bus. The bus doesn’t go there.

The Monastery Of The Holy Trinity

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

Located near the monastery of Saint Stephen, which offers a great view of the funicular, which in the monastery of the Holy Trinity delivered products and tourists who do not want to climb the stairs.
The funicular to the monastery of SV. Trinity

In the courtyard along the walls spaced green trees in pots and benches, on which sit colorful cats. The Church is painted with frescoes of the 17th and 18th centuries, here is the gospel printed in 1539 in Venice. The monastery has filmed an episode of the film about agent 007 James bond “for your eyes Only”. Here is best reached by private transport from Kalambaka. To the monastery are 140 steps, hewn in the rock. In summer open daily except Thursday from 9.00 to 18.00. Weekend Wednesday, Thursday.

Kiev traveller

Жемчужина Греции: небесные монастыри Метеоры

In 1745, on the way home, returning from nearly two decades of travel, the Meteor was visited by the son of the Kievan merchant Vasily Grigorovich-Barsky. During this time he walked Hungary, Austria, Italy, visited Cairo, Damascus and the Holy Land. Four times were in Cyprus, twice on mount Athos, lived several years in Lebanon. On his travels, Basil left an impressive volume of travel notes, in which the meteor is told through drawings. It is known that having been in the monastery of Valaam, where he was raised, as others in the grid, he asked the Abbot: “How often do you change the rope”? On what received the answer, which struck even him, a seasoned traveler: “When you snap the rope”. The traveler caught in Meteora 12 active monasteries.

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