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Meteora: A Perfect Blend of Natural and Man-Made Masterpieces

By on December 20, 2013

In our ignorance, we could have easily missed the one place in Greece that captured me completely: Meteora.

We hadn’t heard of it, had no idea that it was featured in the Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only,’ and were oblivious of the fact it’s possibly one of the most impressive sites Greece has to offer.

It was on our way from Thessaloniki to Athens, and a Kiwi couple had recommended it, so we stopped by. Thank goodness we did. 

From the moment we glimpsed the natural sandstone pillars outside of Kalambaka to the moment we left, the entire area had us entranced.

Meteora (translated from Greek: ‘suspended from the air’), is now made up of six monasteries, four of which are still in use. They seem to barely balance on top of naturally formed sandstone cliffs.

The first inhabitants were monks, who literally climbed their way to finding a higher power in the 11th century.

By the 14th-15th centuries, 26 monasteries had been built and were functional. They used ropes to haul each piece up the cliff faces in a slow and painstaking procedure.

What they created is a mastery of human ingenuity. Isolated communities surrounded by an exquisite view. The Meteora Monasteries are a blend between organic perfection and man-made works of art.

My partner, much more daring than I (read: reckless), was quick to climb up the crest of one formation and make his way to the higher crest to shoot footage. It took me a lot longer to navigate across and up the two logs placed over a small crevice which were apparently a ‘bridge.’

I made it across for the sunset. On our right sat the Monastery of Varlaam. In front of us with the sun going down over Kalambaka, the sandstone formations silhouetted the view.

It didn’t feel like we were on top of the world; it felt like we were part of the world. We were a part of that history, those surroundings, just for a moment. We were transported to the simplicity that exists without distractions.

Meteora is a must-see if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Greece. You don’t have to be a history buff, or an extreme climber, or a nature lover to love it there.

You simply have to be.

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