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Meteora

Meteora is an unique complex of huge dark rocks rising outside Trikala, near the mountains of Pindos. The monasteries that stands on top are the most important monastic community in Greece, after Mount Athos in Halkidiki. Thirty monasteries were founded throughout the centuries, but today only six of them are active.

Root of Tour

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Meteora

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Overnight

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Visit the Monasteries

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The monument of Leonidas at Thermopylae

Tour duration : 2 Days Trip

Meteora Tour

Meteora Additional Information

Meteora is an unique complex of huge dark rocks rising outside Trikala, near the mountains of Pindos. The monasteries that stands on top are the most important monastic community in Greece, after Mount Athos in Halkidiki. Thirty monasteries were founded throughout the centuries, but today only six of them are active.

The history of Meteora goes many millenniums ago.The theories of how the creation of this phenomenon has been occurred is associated with the geological movements that have happened several geological periods ago. Scientists believe that these huge rocks were formatted about 60 millions years ago, during the Tertiary Period. That time, the hole area was covered by sea but a lot of earth movements from earthquakes caused the seabed to withdraw. The mountains that were left were been hit for a very long period by strong winds and waves, which, in combination with extreme weather conditions, affected their shape.

In the Byzantine times, monks had the inspiration to build these monasteries on top of these rocks because they believed that they would be closer to God. The foundation of  the monasteries began around the 11th century. In the 12th century, the first ascetic state was formed and dedicated a church to the Mother of God. Excect praying to God they used these occasions to discuss problems and exchange ideas relating their ascetic life there.

In the 14th century, Saint Athanasios established the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Jesus and named this huge rock Meteoro, which means hanged from nowhere. This monastery is the largest one, also known as the Holy Monastery of the Great Meteoron.

For many centuries, the monks used scaffolds for climbing the rocks and getting food and other supplies As years passed, they were using with this method nets with hooks and rope ladders. Sometimes a basket was used, which was pulled up by the monks. Ladders made by wood 40 metres long were also one of the most important tools for accessing the monasteries.

From 15th to 17th century, Meteora was at its prime when many monks arrived from other monasteries or people who wanted to lead an ascetic life in this divine environment. However, the prosperity of Meteora during that time started to fade away after the 17th century because of  the raids of thieves and conquerors. These caused many monasteries to be abandoned and destructed.

Today, only 6 monasteries operate with a handful of monks each. These are the Varlaam Monastery, Agios Stefanos, Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas, Roussanou, Agia Triada and the Great Meteoron. The only female one is the Monastery of Agios Stefanos.

‘Suspended in the air’ (the meaning of Meteora in Greek), these monasteries represent a unique artistic achievement and are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation and prayer.

The Meteora provide an outstanding example of the types of monastic construction which illustrate a significant stage in history, that of the 14th and 15th centuries when the eremitic ideals of early Christianity were restored to a place of honour by monastic communities, both in the Western world (in Tuscany, for example) and in the Orthodox Church.

Built under impossible conditions, with no practicable roads, permanent though precarious human habitations subsist to this day in the Meteora, but have become vulnerable under the impact of time.

The net in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically alongside the 373 m cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction.

The monasteries are built on rock pinnacles of deltaic origin, known as Meteora, which rise starkly over 400 m above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka on the Thessalian plain. Chemical analysis suggests that the pinnacles were created some 60 million years ago in the Tertiary period, emerging from the cone of a river and further transformed by earthquakes.

The Meteora are enormous residual masses of sandstone and conglomerate which appeared through fluvial erosion. Seismic activity increased the number of fault lines and fissures and hewed the shapeless masses into individual sheer rock columns.

Hermits and ascetics probably began settling in this extraordinary area in the 11th century. In the late 12th century a small church called the Panaghia Doupiani or Skete was built at the foot of one of these ‘heavenly columns’, where monks had already taken up residence.

During the fearsome time of political instability in 14th century Thessaly, monasteries were systematically built on top of the inaccessible peaks so that by the end of the 15th century there were 24 of them.

They continued to flourish until the 17th century. Today, only four monasteries – Aghios Stephanos, Aghia Trias, Varlaam and Meteoron – still house religious communities.

Many 2 Days excursions are organized to Meteora from the centre of Athens combined with Delphi Tour. It is considered among the sites you should definitely visit coming to Greece.

Apart from the historical and religious side, Meteora is also famous for its unique architecture and the huge pillars with the monasteries on top of them allows you to see the great view of the Kalambaka village.

This site can be accessed through the national highway and then we enter the country side road passing from important towns like Thieve and Leivadia before taking the Parnassos mountain to approach Delphi and late in the afternoon overnight at Meteora.

Meteora Tour Map

Delphi

Meteora

The monument of Leonidas at Thermopylae

Meteora Photos

Useful information

Additional fees

For each Monastery the entrance is 3€ per person

(Local box office provides your tickets to buy)

Dress

You should keep in mind that your visit to the monasteries of Meteora should be decently dressed to the input denied. For men during the summer period their shorts must cover the knee. Also vests prohibited. Women should have their shoulders covered and to wear long skirt. In case you do not have a skirt at the entrance of the monasteries is currently able to wear one for as long as the visit lasts.

Your clothes must be comfortable, not heavy, carrying with you just in case a light jacket. Shoes must be flat-soled (like sport shoes). Sun glasses, a hat and a small bottle of fresh cold water (provided by the company) are also recommended.

Opening days

The Great Meteoron Monastery

Summer period : 9:00 – 17:00. Tuesday closed

Winter period : 9:00 – 16:00. Tuesday & Wednesday closed

Varlaam Monastery

Summer period : 9:00 – 16:00. Friday closed

Winter period : 9:00 – 15:00. Thursday & Friday closed

Agia Triada Monastery

Summer period : 9:00 – 17:00. Thursday closed

Winter period : 10:00 – 16:00. Wednesday & Thursday closed

Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas

Sumner period: 9:00 – 15:30. Friday closed

Winter period : 9:00 – 14:00. Friday closed

Roussanou Monastery

Summer period : 9:00 – 18:00. Wednesday closed

Winter period : 9:00 – 14:00. Wednesday closed    

Agios Stefanos Monastery

Summer period : 9:00 – 13:30 & 15:30 – 17:30. Monday closed

Winter period : 9:30 – 13:00 & 15:00 – 17:00. Monday closed

Free admission days

The Monasteries do not provide Free admission days during the hole year

Closed

Agios Stefanos Monastery

Summer period : Monday closed

Winter period : Monday closed

The Great Meteoron Monastery

Summer Period : Tuesday closed

Winter period : Tuesday & Wednesday closed

Roussanou Monastery

Summer period : Wednesday closed

Winter period : Wednesday closed   

Agia Triada Monastery

Summer period : Thursday closed

Winter period : Wednesday & Thursday closed

Varlaam Monastery

Summer period : Friday closed

Winter period : Thursday & Friday closed

Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas

Sumner period : Friday closed

Winter period : Friday closed

Payment

We accept euro and at the end of the tour we provide a receipt with the total amount which includes the payment of the English speaking driver, taxes, tolls  and fuel.

Lunch, hotel and entrance tickets at sites and museums are not included.

Please keep in mind that our driver is not a tour guide so he is not licensed to accompany you inside the sites. If you want a licensed guide you will have to hire one at extra cost.

For further information please do not hesitate to send us an e-mail. The respond will be as soon as possible.

Our Excursion details

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