They were created about 30 million years ago when the sea covering the region began falling back, drawing back and bestowing rocks at the bottom of the sea, that solidified over the years. The isolated rocks come up to a height of 400 meters and host monastic communities on their tops. The monasteries constitute the second more important and remarkable monastic complex in Greece, after the Mount Athos. The buildings of monasteries look like a continuation of the rocks, as their natural ending.
In 1989 the Unesco registered Meteora in the list of the World Heritage Sites, as a cultural natural monument of great importance. It has been recognized the “Holy-Meteora” as a “landmark monument of Humanity”, thus declaring that they belong not only to Greece but also to the whole world. The Meteora monasteries are included in the World Cultural Heritage Sites because they constitute a unique harmonic combination of byzantine architecture and natural beauty. The Greek state recognized this place as a “holy place, unalterable and intact”.
They owe their name to Agios Athanasios Meteoritis, founder of the monastery of Metamorfosi Sotiros (Big Meteoro), who gave this name to the “wide stone”, where he climbed for the first time in 1344. According to the prevailing opinion, the first hermits settled in the area in the 12th century and prospered, however, as a monastic centre in the 13th-14th century, while many residents of the surrounding regions adopted the hermetic life. From the thirty monasteries through history, only six of them exist today.
A place for climbing lovers. In the past, the monks and the hermits were climbing to the monasteries and their hermitages by ropes, nets or with bare hands. Rock climbing in Meteora continued in the contemporary period. Climbers from every part of the world come today in Meteora, in order to take on the huge rocks, enjoying the classic climbing routes rising almost vertically to a height of a half kilometre.
Meteora is undoubtedly an invaluable artistic and heirloom treasure. The existence of many monasteries in such a small place, along with the orthodox spiritual life and asceticism diachronically cause the admiration of the visitors from abroad and the interior of the county.
The traditional settlement «Palio Kastrakiι».
The 6 visitable monasteries:
- The male monastery of Agios Nikolaos tou Asmenos or monastery Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas.
- The Holy Monastery Rousanou or Arsani.
- The male monastery of Metamorphosis of Sotiros, known also as «Big Meteoro», on the highest rock.
- The monastery of Agion Panton or the Holy Monastery Varlaam.
- The monastery of Agia Triada (of Meteora)
- The female monastery of Agios Stefanos (of Meteora).
The Theopetra Cave.
The Natural History Museum and the Mushroom Museum.
The scarves from the custom of Agios Georgios Mantillas.