Meteora, Rock Formation in Greece (with Map & Photos)

On the Greek peninsula Peloponnese, near the city of Kalambaka, there is a picturesque Thessalian valley. Rocky formation rises above its green hills - Meteora.

An army of rocks up to 600m high seemed to have grown out of the ground.

How did they form and why are they attractive to tourists? Let's discuss this in more detail.

Meteora Rock Formation Greece
Meteora Rock Formation Greece

How did Meteora form in Greece?

The mighty guardians of the valley are a mixture of rock and sandstone. Once they were at the bottom of the sea.

60 million years ago, the sea receded, and the rocky bottom was exposed. Gradually, water, air, numerous earthquakes, and time created the giant rocks of Meteora (in Greek, “Soaring above the earth”).

Meteora Rock Formation Greece
Meteora Rock Formation Greece

How did it happen?

According to many geologists, the valley with its bizarre formations was shaped by the waters of an ancient lake. For centuries, the current made its way, forming erosion in the stones. Later, the waters of the ancient reservoir went into the Aegean Sea, leaving behind a ridge of sheer rocky sculptures.

Meteors look amazing. Looking at them, you forget about the hustle and bustle of life and marvel at the grandeur of nature. As a talented sculptor, she slowly and thoughtfully created these stone sculptures!

No wonder many Orthodox ascetics felt enlightenment here and found solace in the caves and on the tops of the meteor mountains.

Thus, the monasteries of Meteora gradually formed - a place of hermitage and unceasing prayer of humble Christians.

And although Meteors evoke different emotions, not a single person will leave here indifferent. Everyone will find something of their own here. Someone is inspiration, someone is consolation, and someone is a flurry of emotions.

Meteora in Greece is a unique natural phenomenon, a masterpiece of world architecture, and a place with a peaceful atmosphere.

Meteora Rock Formation Greece
Meteora Rock Formation Greece

Monasteries of Meteora: the history of Creation and Destruction

Back in the 8th century, the hermit Barnabas settled on the top of the meteor mountain. He built the first sketch here. Later, in the 9th century, the Preobrazhensky Skete was erected. Then - the skete of Stagi (1160). Thus began the formation of the monastic complex.

However, the peaceful existence of the monks did not last long. In the XIII century, Thessalonica was surrounded by hordes of Turks, Serbs, Albanians, and Crusaders, who brought with them a lot of trouble and destruction.

In 1334, the monk Athanasius visited Meteora. It was he who built the monastery "Great Metor", formed a monastic community, and determined the rules of life and behavior in the monastery.

A total of 24 monasteries were built, but over time, most of them fell into disrepair. The Civil War and the Second World War caused severe damage to the monastic state.

Only 6 Meteora monasteries have survived to this day. Hermits live in them to this day, and it is here that they feel closeness and unity with God.

Meteora Rock Formation Greece
Meteora Rock Formation Greece

How were the Meteora Monasteries built?

The construction of Meteor Monasteries is an incredible work that only inspired monks can do. They felt the presence and help of God, and therefore they worked tirelessly and lived in a place completely unsuitable for this.

It is hard to imagine how you can climb a sheer cliff to such a height. But still had to deliver building materials! How did they do it?

Initially, bars were installed in the holes of the rocks, along which the monks climbed. Later, special nets began to be used for lifting. They lifted a person for a long time, about half an hour, and the network could break at any moment, which often happened.

Then hinged ladders were attached to the rocks. This greatly simplified the lifting process for people.

Thus, everything necessary for the construction and living of ascetics rose to the tops of the meteor mountains.

In the 20th century, stone steps were made in Meteora. Paths were laid to the monasteries, which are still available for tourists.

Meteora Map