Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalambaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.

Beside the Pindos Mountains, in the western region of Thessaly, these unique and enormous columns of rock rise precipitously from the ground. But their unusual form is not easy to explain geologically. They are not volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock typical elsewhere, but the rocks are composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate.

Caves in the vicinity of Meteora were inhabited continuously between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago. The oldest known example of a man-made structure, a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to the Theopetra cave, was constructed 23,000 years ago.

As early as the 11th century, monks occupied the caverns of Meteora. However, monasteries were not built until the 14th century, when the monks sought somewhere to hide in the face of an increasing number of Turkish attacks on Greece. At this time, access to the top was via removable ladders or windlass. Nowadays, getting up is a lot simpler due to steps being carved into the rock during the 1920s. Of the 24 monasteries, only six are still functioning, with each housing less than 10 individuals.

Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



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Meteora, Kalabaka, Greece
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Founded: 11th century
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Greece


4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

James Bright (3 months ago)
What a beautiful place. We booked our tour with a local guide and it was definitely worth it. Georgia was very knowledgeable about Greek orthodox religion and the geology of the rock formation. Highly recommend
Nima M. (3 months ago)
When I got there, I was in rush and it was raining. No chance to walk, bike, and climbing. But scenery, sounds like paradise. Peaks had been covered by fog, quiet, and landscapes were unforgettable. As a tourist, it was one the best in whole Greece, I visited. Strongly recommended!
Susan Torregrosa (4 months ago)
The mountains are very different and beautiful. The monasteries are lovely. No shorts or short dresses or sleeveless tops. They will provide a not so lovely scrub type top or bottom for you.
Oleg231988 Oled (4 months ago)
Fantastic place! It will be remembered for a long time! Keep in mind that you have time from 9.30 to 16.00. Respect other tourists! Do not litter and let families with small children pass without waiting in line!
גיא אברהם (5 months ago)
Breathtaking. I visited the area on a tour, and all the 3 monasteries we visited, and the other 3 we only saw from the outside, were sitting in some of the most gorgeous locations, hanging up on the columns. Each monastery costs 3 euros to enter. Be aware that most of them, except "The Monastery of St. Stephan", aren't accessible to people in wheel chairs, and there is a fair amount of stairs everywhere.
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