Meteors in Greece – This is one of the largest complexes of monasteries. Today we will talk about the sights of Meteor. Tourist attractions Meteor today talk and try to find out what you can see here.
Excursion to Meteora, here you can book a trip to Meteora with a Russian-speaking guide
Along with Athos, its own administration operates here, the monastic state of Metropolitan Stagi and Meteor is subordinate to it. The peculiarity of the complex is its inaccessibility and – all the monasteries are located on the tops of the cliffs, which, like huge pillars, rise above the surface of the Pind mountain range.
How did the Meteors originate in Greece?
Once on the site of a meteor there was a huge lake that communicated with the ocean of Tethys – the progenitor of the Mediterranean. At the bottom of the lake accumulated thick sediment coming here from the young mountains of the Balkan Peninsula. After Tethys finally separated, the bottom of the lake began to actively rise. The water left it, leaving behind a half-kilometer layer of petrified precipitation. Gradually eroding, the stone massif turned into a complex of high pillars of sandstone, the tops of which ended in small areas.
Translated from the Greek “meteor” means “soaring in the sky.” Such pillars got their name because during the fog only their tops are visible above the clouds, and it seems that huge stones just hung above the ground. The first Christians who appeared here in the 9th century accepted the opening of the Meteor as a sign from above – building a monastery in such a secluded place could allow one to feel a real connection with God, to become closer to him.
Soon the area around Meteors in Greece Hermits began to inhabit – silence, remoteness from civilization and the ability to avoid religious persecution contributed to the rapid attraction of people from different parts of the Byzantine Empire. They settled in small caves and rocky depressions, gathering only for prayer in specially designated areas.
In order to participate in worship and sacraments, hermits needed a church. At first they visited the temple of the Archangels in the nearby town of Stagi, and later decided to build their own church of the Virgin Mary.
Meteora researchers agree that Barnabas was the first recluse about whom there are reliable records. In 950, he built the first skete here, called the Holy Spirit. After 70 years, the monk Andronicus set about building the monastery of the Transfiguration, and in 1160 a skete of Dupiani or Stagi appeared, which was the beginning of the organization of the monastic community.
For several centuries after its founding, the monks of Meteora lived in relative peace and prosperity, until in the XIII century the Crusaders began to attack Greece on the one hand, and the Turks on the other. Both sides had a common goal – to seize the province of Thessaly, which was a strategic object of the Balkan Peninsula.
In the middle of the XIV century on the territory Meteors in Greece arrived monk Athanasius, who was forced to leave Athos as a result of the invasion of the Ottoman invaders. Together with his spiritual shepherd Gregory, Athanasius founded a skete, in which he lived for 10 years. The purpose of the work of Athanasius was the organization in Meteora of the abutment, similar to Athos. Together with 14 monks, he climbed on the largest rock in the district, which was called Platis Litos, where he began construction of the future Transfiguration Monastery, which is still in operation.
It was Athanasius who developed and introduced a set of rules that I had to guide all the inhabitants of Meteor. It is also believed that he gave the complex the name used until now.
In 1371 Meteora was visited with an official visit by the ruler of Epirus, the historical part of Hellas, John Uresh. After becoming acquainted with Abbot Athanasius, he made a fateful decision – to give up the throne, and take monastic vows. After the death of Athanasius, John, who adopted the Christian name of Joseph, became the hegumen of the main monastery of Meteor.
The period of the abbot Joseph is considered the heyday of the monastic state of Meteor. Thanks to a thoughtful approach to the organization of affairs, Josaph was able to begin the construction of new monasteries and outbuildings, including a small hospital.
In 1394, the Turks nevertheless achieved their goal, capturing Thessaly. To avoid persecution, Joseph was forced to flee to Athos, where he lived for several years in the Vatopedi monastery. Subsequently, he managed to return to Meteora, where he again took the place of Abbot of the Transfiguration Monastery.
During the maximum heyday of monasticism in Meteora, 24 Orthodox monasteries operated here, 6 of which continue to operate to this day.
Prior to the beginning of the last century, access to monasteries Meteors was limited not so much because of religious considerations, but because of inaccessibility and. Only in the 20s, roads were laid here, and stone steps carved into the sandstone rocks. Previously, the monks had to climb the pillars using a system of wooden stairs, or in conventional grids, which were set in motion by a system of blocks located on top. Such lifting took a lot of time, and often there were accidents when the network was torn or the ladder broke under the weight of the person walking. It is hard to even imagine what kind of work was done by the builders of the monasteries, because all the materials, including stone and wood, were delivered in a similar way.
With the advent of World War II, for the monasteries of Meteora troubled times came – the German and Italian invaders looted and destroyed most of the monasteries, which led to their neglect. A few years after the end of the war, the monasteries began to recover, but of all the many monasteries there were only 6 – 4 male and 2 female.
Tourist attractions. Meteors in Greece
Today get to the monasteries of Meteora simple enough. The monastic state is only 350 kilometers from Athens, and a system of convenient roads is laid to it. In each of the 6 monasteries you can drive a car, and although tourists do not have access to the entire territory of the monastery, there is still something to see there.
The interior of the Orthodox monasteries is in many ways similar to other monasteries of Greece, they differ only in their unique location. From the top of the cliffs offers a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and villages. At the very foot of the pillars there are two villages – Kalambaka and Kastraki. In fact, they smoothly flow into each other, and differ only in size – Kalambaka is slightly larger, there are many cafes, shops, and there is even a small supermarket. Infrastructure Kastraki less developed, but it offers a beautiful view of the mountains and monasteries. Photographing on the territory of monasteries is not forbidden, but it is often very inconvenient to do this: there are many people in the small square attached to prayer, and a hand does not rise to their lifestyle.
Between the two villages there is a cozy cafe Meteoron Panorama, from the terrace of which it is very convenient to observe the terrain. In the evening, after dark, a large searchlight next to the cafe includes a large spotlight, which illuminates the surrounding rocks, giving them an atmosphere of mystery.
Not far from Meteora, 4 kilometers from Kalambaki, there is another attraction that can be visited along the way – Theopetra Cave. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that it contains evidence about the life of modern people and their predecessors – Neanderthals. The cave consists of a huge main hall with an area of more than 500 m 2, separated from the outside world by a 17-meter narrow passage. A radiocarbon analysis of labor tools determined that the age of the first settlement of people in the cave is 50,000 years. Near the main entrance flows a small river with clean cold water, which previously served as a source of life-giving moisture for both monks and residents of all villages in the district.
Excursions to Meteora different from other tourist corners of a special atmosphere. There is clearly felt a strong spirit of prayer, which, in combination with the proximity of this place to the sky allows you to feel the strength and confidence in yourself.
To visit all Sights Meteora, one day is not enough. The measured life of this remote from civilization corner of the country makes you reconsider your views on life, and begin to look at it with calmness, balanced attitude to everyday problems.
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