Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Greek Grand Canyon, Meteora!

Meteora is a majestic, unique place found in the centre of Greece, in the area of Thessaly, next to Kalambaka, where it meets the foothills of the massive Pindos mountain range. The name, Meteora, literally  means suspended in the air, which is the name given to the group of tall, precipitous rocks that predominate in that area, together with the monastic community that is formed by the monasteries which are built on top of them, being located half way between earth and the heavens. The rock formations were created by river segment when they were underwater millions of years ago. They were moulded by the river waters, winds and pressure, giving us these lovely and weird rock shapes. 


The Holy Meteora is the second most important monastic community, after Mount Athos in Macedonia (Northern Greece). It has been acknowledged by UNESCO as a Monument of Global Cultural Heritage. Since 1995 the Greek State acknowledged the holiness of Meteora by Law, characterising it sacred, intact and inviolate, so as to secure its authenticity and reassure its effective protection. 


The site of this unique place strikes the visitor with a curious mixture of awe and amazement. This is heightened by the fact that many became monks here, building amazing monastic complexes on the top of rocks, away from cities and people, becoming hermits, finding spiritual tranquillity. It was the ideal refuge for the hermits and the anchorites, who put their lives in danger by climbing on the peaks and the cavities that had been formed, so as to live away from society. 


According to tradition, the first hermits had already settled by 9th century AD. However, it is more likely that they actually resided there around the 11th century, as it was the time that anchorites and hermits from all over Greece gradually commenced moving towards cavities of rocks, seeking peace of mind, serenity and undisturbed communication with God. This spiritual place has given Orthodoxy countless saints, leaving behind important work and fascinating monasteries, with unparalleled iconographic paradigms from the Cretan and Macedonian School of Byzantine Iconography.  Currently there are six monasteries, which are all that remain from the glorious past, of more than 20 monasteries. 

1 comment:

  1. Υπέροχες φωτογραφίες! Πραγματικά μαγευτικό το τοπίο! Σε αυτό το χώρο η Φύση υποκλείνεται στο Θείο. Μαρία...

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