Meteora

Meteora 2006The Metéora ( “suspended rocks”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” – etymologically similar to “Meteorite”) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII.
Read the long history of the Meteora at Wikipedia

Meteora MonasteryOnly six of the monasteries remain today. Of these six, four were inhabited by men, and two by women. Each monastery has fewer than 10 inhabitants. The monasteries are now tourist attractions.

Studies suggest that the pinnacles were formed about 60 million years ago during the Tertiary Period. Weathering and earthquakes then shaped them into their present shape.

Beside the Pindos Mountains, at the western region of the Thessaly plain in the middle of northern Greece, these sandstone rocks rise from the ground. The rocks are composed of a mixture of sandstone and connglomerate. They were formed about 60 million years ago. Continuous weathering by water, windand extremes of temperature turned them into huge rock pillars, marked by horizontal lines which geologists maintain were made by the waters of a prehistoric sea. Greek historian Herodotus wrote in the 5th century BC that local people believed the plain of Thessaly had once been a sea. If this was accurate, there was most probably an inundation at the end of the last Ice Age, around 8000 BC. However, he failed to mention the rocks of Metéora, and nor are they recorded in the writings of other ancient Greek authors. This has led to the belief that the pinnacles did not exist 2000 years ago; a theory dismissed by modern geologists.

The cave of Theopetra is located at the foot of the cliffs. Excavations and research and have discovered petrified diatoms,which have contributed to understanding the Palaeo-climate and climate changes. Radiocarbon data evidences human presence dating back 50,000 years. The cave is closed to the public.

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Where to stay and other important information about Meteora:
meteora-greece.com

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