Meteora is the second largest monastic state in Greece, after Mount Athos, with its impressive giant rock formations that look as if nature sculpted them. A visit to Meteora is an experience that is worth having at least once, especially during Easter, in one of their Monasteries. Six monasteries are open to the public, each one with its own devout atmosphere and a breathtaking view.
Let’s take a closer look at these monasteries
This monastery got its name possibly from the first hermit who settled on that vertical, steep and narrow rock. The main cathedral was founded at the end of the 16th century and was decorated thirty years later.
During the German Occupation, it was looted, while in the 1980s it was restored and renovated by the area’s Archaeological Service.
Today, it is a women’s monastery and to reach it, you have to go up several concrete steps and walk through two small solid bridges, which were constructed in 1930, replacing the wooden bridge built in 1868. The monastery’s hagiography is considered to be some of the finest frescoes of the post-Byzantine period.
Saint Nikolaos Anapafsas
This monastery is literally suspended on a small rock. It is the first monastery coming from Kastraki. For its name, Anapafsas (“anapafsis” means resting) and there are numerous interpretations as to how it got it. Since this monastery was the first the pilgrims and other visitors encountered, it became a place that offered spiritual rest and inner peace.
It may be one of the state’s most inaccessible monasteries and you need to climb about 140 steps to get to it, but the view from there is breathtaking.
There are no specific data regarding the date of its construction, but according to historical sources, it should be around 1458-1476.
It is the second biggest one named after the ascetic Varlaam, who in 1350 climbed the rock on which the monastery was built.
In 1923 the monks sculpted 195 steps on that rock, thus offering a safe access to the monastery.
The oldest, biggest and more historic of Meteora’s surviving monasteries is perched on an imposing rock. It was founded just before the middle of the 14th century by a monk, Saint Athanasios the Meteorite. It houses beautiful icons, sacred heirlooms and rare manuscripts. It is a men’s monastery and is located at the highest point of Meteora.
Saint Stephen’s monastery
It is located on the edge of a cliff and from 1961 it functions as a female monastery. It is the most accessible from all the monasteries of the state of Meteora.