In this video, we travel to the Meteora, 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 sheer spectacle they pose – impossibly constructed atop slender stone pinnacles by medieval masons – garnered a UNESCO World Heritage site listing, and made the monasteries one of the most visited attractions in all Greece.
The six sanctuaries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area, located near the town of Kalabaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly. Aptly named, Meteora means “suspended in mid-air”, while kalabak is an Ottoman Turkish word meaning “cliff” or “pinnacle”.
At their peak in the 16th century, there were 24 monasteries at Meteora, housing monks and nuns who followed the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Today, there are six such monasteries still in existence; the remainder are largely in ruin. The functioning sanctuaries are now accessible by staircases and pathways cut into the rock formations.
Of the six operative monasteries, the Holy Monastery of St. Stephen and the Holy Monastery of Roussanou are inhabited by nuns, while the remainder are inhabited by monks.
View the original video here.
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