Meteora is surely a feat of human dreaming, ingenuity, skill, patience and unwavering determination. It is a geographical oddity, but also a religious harem. A fortified area of spiritual meditation and monastic living, reaching over the evils of mankind for the serenity of the heavens above.
Meteora means “hovering in the air” and is an area originally settled by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th century. But as time became more unsure during the Turkish occupation and general lawlessness the monks moved higher and higher until they were perched on the top of the monolithic rocks. They were able to build their monasteries on the peaks by hoisting people and materials up with ropes and baskets. Of the 27 monasteries in the area, six still remain, whole and operational, and offer glimpses into a way of living long past, as well as spectacular views of the cliffs, monasteries and valleys below.
The monasteries are clustered in an area above the town of Kalambaka and village of Kastraki and are accessed by a smooth curving road which also offers breathtaking views. The colours of the autumn trees had me stopping to take photographs every few metres. And I know some rock climbers who would wet themselves for a chance to scale these soaring cliff faces.
That was a good day. With the sun shining in a clear blue sky, good tunes in my ears, the freshness of a crisp morning to set me right and hours to walk the winding road, I was smiling and unstoppable. Don’t take a tour or rent a car. Lace up your takkies and let your feet take you on a journey.