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
See all sites in Kalabaka

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Founded: 11th century
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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

xX Emerald Xx (3 months ago)
This place had allot of stairs, but the top was so beautiful! The views are AMAZING! The funny thing was that they gave women long skirts to wear! Me and my friends looked hilarious in them!
T N (3 months ago)
A must visit. Truly one of the most peaceful and beautiful places to visit in Greece. Recommend staying overnight if coming from Athens as it is a 4-5 hr drive and different monasteries are open on different days
Robert Cooke (4 months ago)
An absolutely fantastic place to visit. It is nature and man made splendor. Every monastery, every viewpoint is awesome inspiring. I can't recommend here enough. Do it.
Petranka Kuzmanova (4 months ago)
Meteora is among the most impressive regions in Greece. The Greek word Meteora means “suspended in the air” and this phrase aptly describes these remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. The view from the top of the rocks to the valley below is just breathtaking.
Vagner Zanatta (4 months ago)
A different side of Greece, where hospitality and friendliness are a must. Here you will find yourself surrounded by natural beauty, in a much more welcoming atmosphere than Athens. Come and stay for two days, walk the trails and see one of the most wonderful sunsets of your life.
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